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Cool climate wines head north

Victoria’s cool climate wines were recently in the spotlight at a major international food service exhibition.

The Victorian Department of Primary Industries (DPI), with the support of Austrade Korea and information provided by Tourism Victoria, held a Victorian Cool Climate Wine Seminar during Food and Hotel Korea 2006, in Seoul.

The aim was to demonstrate the quality and diversity of cool climate wines and to illustrate the advantages of wine production in Victoria: a temperate climate, a variety of soil types, a clean supply of water, extensive low input farming systems and skilled, efficient farmers who are environmentally responsible.

The seminar covered topics such as the definition of cool climate wine production, wine regions of Victoria, site selection impacts on wine production, and similarities between Victorian wine regions and styles and those of other internationally-recognised wine regions.

Ross Clarke, DPI’s manager of market development for North Asia, said the seminar was an important step towards introducing Victorian cool climate wines into that region.

“Around 80 representatives of Korea's wine sector, including importers, distributors, retailers, food service operators, wine writers and educators, attended the seminar and associated wine tasting,” said Mr Clarke.

“Twelve outstanding Victorian wines were presented, to represent wine styles from different regions of Victoria.”

“Companies presenting at the seminar included Brown Brothers, Pretty Sally and Longfellows Wine Exports. They indicated that the wine seminar had a positive impact on the commercial enquiries received at the Food and Hotel exhibition, and there will most likely be a follow-up visit to Victoria by Korean wine industry representatives.”

“Korea liberated wine imports in 1991. Last year around US$67 million worth of wine was imported into Korea with France the leading supplier, followed in order by Chile, USA, Italy and Australia. Around three-quarters of wine consumption occurs in Seoul and red wines are favoured over white wines by more than two to one” Mr Clarke said.

Koreans enjoy a range of alcoholic beverages at social and work related activities and a wine culture is developing quickly, even though it represents only 2% of the consumption of all alcoholic beverages.

Victorian wine exports to Korea have increased from $591,000 in 2002 to $1.7 million in 2005. Although this is a low base compared with other export markets, it indicates the strong market growth potential and the opportunity for Victorian suppliers.

While Victorian wine exports to Korea in 2005 represented 25% of the total value of wines from Australia, it represented only 16% of the quantity. This indicates the extra value being generated by Victorian wines in the market place. The Cool Climate Wine Seminar is seen as a part of the education activities that we should be delivering to customers to maintain their interest in Victorian and Australian wines.

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