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Oregon wine to enjoy a South Korean spotlight

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South Korea’s largest retailer is about to receive 27,000 bottles of Oregon wine as part of a promotion celebrating the Korean Free Trade Agreement’s first anniversary:

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Audio 01
Two 40-foot containers of Oregon pinot are on their way from the Port of Portland to South Korea:

WELKER:  “All Oregon pinots. The majority will be red, that’s what the preference is in Korea because they associate that with good health. But the white wine is increasing in popularity largely because it goes with the Korean food.”  :12

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Oregon Department of Agriculture trade manager Amanda Welker says buyers from Shinsegae (SHIN-suh-gay), which holds about 38 percent of Korea’s retail market share, toured Oregon wineries last month and selected four to do business with. The transaction marks the largest ever single shipment of Oregon wines to South Korea:

WELKER:  “The Oregon name in Korea is gaining a lot of momentum. We have done well there with our berry products, our seafood, cherries. So that Oregon name representing quality, clean, green really does well in the Korean market..”  :16

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Also helping is the free trade agreement, which eliminates tariff on US wines. Now Oregon wines can better compete with those from Chile, Australia, and New Zealand in the fast growing and rapidly maturing South Korean market. In Salem, I’m Bruce Pokarney.

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WELKER says the elimination of tariffs due to the Korean Free Trade Agreement will allow Oregon wines to be competitive. Wines from Oregon don’t normally compete well on price because of their high quality:

“Asia has always been a tough market for Oregon wines because of the price. We tend to have a higher priced product. But there’s a lot of interest in exporting.”  :08

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WELKER says wine consumption in South Korea is trending up, which bodes well for Oregon wines exported to that country:

“Young people are drinking wines. It’s the preferred drink of women now, as far as alcohol, and moving away from the harder, kind of the soju hard alcohol and moving into the wine because of the perceived health benefits.”  :12

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