Mega Aussie wine showcase takes Seoul by storm

5 April 2022

Excitement around Australian wine is in full flow in Korea. A recent mega promotion in Seoul drew a large crowd of wine buyers and generated strong media interest. 

The event in March attracted more than 300 Korean guests keen to taste and learn about Australian wine and do business with Australian wineries. 

Austrade partnered with Wine Australia and several Australian states to deliver the high-energy, full-day program. The interest was staggering. Over 100 virtual business meetings were conducted. Guests tasted more than 150 new-to-market wines and 60 existing in-market wines. 

Korea is Australia’s ninth largest wine export market. There is growing enthusiasm about the synergy between Australia’s innovative winemakers and Korea’s adventurous wine drinkers. 

Educating Korean guests about Australian wine

The 3-in-1 mega promotion consisted of:

  • a virtual business matching for 38 new-to-market wineries
  • a grand tasting showcasing new-to-market wines and others already in market
  • four masterclasses to educate Korean buyers on Australia’s diverse winegrowing regions across New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia.

Korean guests ranged from importers and distributors to retailers, sommeliers and restaurant owners. Key media and social media influencers were also present, using the hashtag #hojuwine ('Australian Wine') to show their engagement. 

‘Our event was so popular that Korean wine trade representatives were still arriving after 5pm, so we decided to continue well past the intended closing time,’ says Helen Oh, Trade and Investment Commissioner, Austrade Seoul. 

The promotion is part of the Agribusiness Expansion Initiative, which helps Australian agribusinesses to expand and diversify their export markets. It is also supported by the international ‘with us’ campaign promoting premium Australian food and wine, and the strengthening economic partnership between Australia and Korea. 

Burgeoning Korean wine market attracts Australian wineries

Australia is the sixth largest supplier of imported wine to Korea, both by value and volume. Total wine exports to Korea reached A$46.9 million in 2021, up 73% from the previous year. 

Austrade is seeing an increasing volume of Australian wineries interested in entering the Korean market. 

‘Korean consumers are starting to explore the different styles of Australian wines,’ says Oh. ‘They are venturing outside of familiar territory, searching for new styles and varieties of wine to suit each drinking occasion. 

‘Some recent distribution deals with Korean buyers comprise more white and sparkling varietals from a wider range of winegrowing regions across South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria. Australia’s zero alcohol and natural wine ranges are also attracting new commercial discussions.’ 

Korean buyers, media and educators are impressed with the diversity of Australian wines. Buyers tasted a range of Australian wine varieties and styles from Shiraz, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon to more light and medium-bodied whites and reds. 

Austrade is looking to:

  • introduce more new-to-market brands to Korean buyers
  • promote the many popular, existing brands in market
  • educate Korean buyers and consumers about Australia’s exceptional wines, which express the characteristics of their regional origins and the people who craft them. 

‘Australian wine in Korea is incredibly popular,’ says Oh. ‘Austrade is partnering with Wine Australia and Australian Grape & Wine to capture the momentum and provide more opportunities for Australian wine exporters in this growing wine market.’ 

Event exceeds expectations

Korean guests commented on the well-organised mega promotion, even by pre-COVID standards. Many said this was the largest and most well-run tasting event they have attended since early 2020. 

The event attracted a large trade audience as Australia was one of the first countries to hold an in-person tasting event in 2022. 

‘It also helped that we could utilise our industry contacts and influence built up over the last 12 months through smaller tastings, business matching events and retail promotions,’ says Oh. 

‘When we hosted our virtual business matching program in March 2021, there were 30 Korean buyers interested in meeting with new-to-market wineries from Australia. It’s great to see Austrade’s strategic program of engagement has resulted in Korea’s growing interest in Australian wines with 300 buyers attending this key event.’ 

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