Carmen Vawter

1 Posts Back Home

The Birth of a Wine Culture in South Korea

How do you create a wine culture where none exists? South Koreans have had a long history of a drinking culture, favoring Soju, a distilled spirit similar to vodka but very cheap.  Wine was not on the table, not even in five star restaurants or hotels as recently as the 1990s. That didn’t deter Hi Sang Lee.  He is a very patient man. He wanted to share his newly found love of fine wine with friends in Korea.  Lee’s wine moment happened on a ski trip with friends in Stowe, Vermont.  Up to this point Lee really wasn’t a drinker.  One of his wine loving friends opened some good French wine.  “It was like paradise,” Lee says, and the wine bug bit.  He began buying wine, storing it in a friend’s basement.  But he had a problem.  How to get it back home to South Korea? “So I started a…