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South Korean Wine

South Korean Wine

South Korea is a country filled with controversy, mainly due to its position and political climate.  Interestingly enough, it is the political unrest in North Korea that makes South Korea so fascinating to many people.  As a result, anything that is produced in South Korea that is away from the electronics market (Samsung is South Korean, for instance), gains immediate interest, as does the South Korean wine.

South Korean Wine Trends
The volume of wine produced in South Korea is growing very quickly.  In 2011, it grew by 17% compared to the previous year.  This is because there is a strong local demand for domestic non-grape wine products.  The most popular one is Takju.  However, imported wines are very popular as well, particularly the very expensive and premium products.  Sparkling wines, Champagne in particular, are incredibly popular, particularly in the upper levels of society where serving these drinks is a sign of status.  

South Korean Takju
Takju is the most consumed wine in South Korea.  It accounts for 81% of all the consumed wines.  Almost all companies that try to work in the wine industry are dominated by the Takju organisations.

South Korean Wine Prospects
It is believed that the production of wines in South Korea is going to continue to grow.  In projected growth of 8% is expected year on year.  The tax on wine products is quite low in South Korea, which is why it is believed that the industry will grow.

Takju is a rice wine, comparable to the Japanese Sake.  Essentially, the process of making Takju involves fermenting rice starch, which is then converted to sugar.  This is very similar to how beer is being produced as well.  The difference is, however, that beer is mashed as well, whereas rice wine is produced through an amylolytic process, which makes it a wine.  Another difference is that Takju is far stronger in alcohol percentage than what wine is.  Most Takju is between 18% and 25%, whereas grape wine is between 9% and 16%.  It is because of this high alcohol content that the drink is often substituted in cooking by Sherry, rather than wine.  A dry pale Sherry is the perfect substitute for Takju.

Whether South Korea will ever grow grape wines to a degree that is popular remains to be seen.  It is not believed that the industry will take on massively, mainly because Takju is so popular amongst the general population, and importing expensive wines is popular amongst the upper levels of society.

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