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South Korea gains ground on the US as premier global wine market

Published:  07 September, 2021

South Korea is becoming an increasingly important destination for wine exporters, according to a recent study commissioned by Wine Intelligence.

As underlined in the organisation’s 'Global Compass 2021' report, South Korea is now just one step behind the US in terms of “global market attractiveness”.

Wine Intelligence commissioned the study to measure key economic and wine market factors, in order to rank wine’s attractiveness in 50 focus nations.

In 2020, South Korea rose eight places to take the #2 spot, where it remains again this year. 

“The US’s strong economic rebound, partly funded by government stimulus, along with a standout year for wine sales, kept it ahead in our rankings,” said Lulie Halstead, CEO at Wine Intelligence.

“However, #2 South Korea is gaining fast in our model. Wine growth in the US is tailing off, whereas still wine volume in South Korea grew by more than 11% CAGR 2016-2020, according to IWSR Drinks Market Analysis,” she added.

The study also indicated that while total global wine volume and value decreased in 2020, the pandemic has proven to be positive in some ways in certain markets. 

“Even though global wine consumption has declined, fortunately what we’ve seen is that consumers have pivoted, rather than cancel, their consumption habits, transitioning their going-out behavior into new occasions in the home or in outdoor settings,” Halstead said. 

According to Wine Intelligence's study, the top-five global wine markets are the US, South Korea, UK, Ireland and Germany, all of which saw strong wine volumes during the year. 

The report also noted that Colombia had joined Brazil, Poland, Romania, South Korea, and Singapore as a “growth” market this year, with Mexico and Russia falling from that category into the “emerging” wine markets category. 

China, also considered an “emerging” market, fell 13 places in the rankings to #17.