Wine critic James Suckling [HONG KONG TOURISM BOARD]
Internationally renowned wine critic and wine bar owner James Suckling, currently based in Hong Kong, is working on opening a wine bar in Seoul.
"We are in discussion to open James Suckling Wine Central in Seoul," he told the Korea JoongAng Daily on Thursday during an online interview to discuss the local wine market. Suckling opened his Hong Kong wine bar in 2018.
While the exact location of the new bar will be announced at a later date, Suckling and his wife Marie Kim-Suckling, who is a director of the James Suckling brand, teased that it will be in a prime location in Seoul. The opening date has been pushed back because of the pandemic.
About 500 wines will be served by the glass, a service rarely seen in wine bars in Korea. Having a big selection of bottles available to try out has proven popular among his clientele in Hong Kong bar. Suckling said having so many options encourages local wine lovers to try new bottles rather than bring something from their own collection when they are socializing.
"[The wine offered by the glass] changes all the time and it's really curated by me," said Suckling who has decades of experience as a global wine expert. "[The new wine bar] will add to the dynamics of your market […] it will be friendly competition because my brand and who I am are very different."
Since his big tasting event "Great Wines of the World" in 2019 at the Four Seasons Seoul Hotel in central Seoul's Gwanghwamun, Suckling has been keeping an eye on the wine-drinking culture in Korea.
"What contributes to [making the wine-drinking culture bigger] is general communication about wine," Suckling said, adding that it's essential to have wine talks and post on social media about wines. The younger generation who have been overseas and exposed to wine drinking culture often lead the way on spreading the word, he said.
"A lot of [wineries] increased prices a lot in the last year because of the limited supply, [higher] demand and [heftier] logistics issues," he said. "But you still can find amazing wines for the money as there are so many great wines out there to drink at reasonable prices. We just need distributors and importers in Korea to make them available to consumers."
BY LEE SUN-MIN [[email protected]]
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