Transitions commence new adventures. Make 'em last…
A little over a month ago, my orthodontist, Dr. Youngho Her, whom consistently reads my blog and is interested in my adventures around Korea and the world, asked if I would be willing to speak at his workplace to all his work colleagues and some friends about Spain, USA, and Korea. I immediately agreed. Now, I didn’t exactly know what to speak about at first, but I soon realized that my love for vineyards and wine had shaped many of big decisions in life, and thus, it was then that I knew I would give a presentation about my love for traveling and wine. Therefore, during every Monday and Tuesday night for the next several weeks I spent hours organizing a powerpoint that would focus on these very topics, including a wide variety of pictures accompanied with descriptions that would essentially serve to expound my travels, but primarily teach about grapes and wine, the many wine regions of California, Spain, and Portugal, in addition to what makes a great wine and general rules to follow in order to get your money’s worth. After weeks of preparation, the powerpoint presentation became nearly 32 pages and was loaded with quantities of information. It could have been easily been doubled or tripled in size, as wine is very complex and interesting, but I figured it would essentially serve as an in-depth wine introduction to interest those in attendance. The majority of Koreans, I’d guess about 90%, do not know very much about wine, and thus, I relished the opportunity to speak about something I greatly enjoy.
Wait a second, the 32 page powerpoint was in English, right? Yes, that’s correct, but my kind and gracious girlfriend, Michelle, spent an entire day and a half translating it into Korean, so that no information would slip away due to it being lost in translation. Thanks Michelle, you rock! So, essentially, I spoke in English and those in attendance followed along with the powerpoint if they didn’t quite understand what I had spoken about. Wine language can be quite complex and I feel it was helpful to have folks be able to read all the information provided.
In addition to the powerpoint, I prepared wine & food pairing session. Now, finding select wines in Korea is quite difficult, actually, it’s nearly impossible, but I was able to find some good middle-quality wines at somewhat reasonable prices at a few places I know. Normally, wine prices in Korea are more than double than what they would be in the States. For instance, a Kendall Jackson chardonnay would normally cost $15-18 at practically any market or wine shop in America, but in Korea, even at Costco, KJ Chardonnay is $35-40. There were some pretty good California and Spanish wines that I would have loved to bring, but they were rather quite expensive for the $200 budget I was given to purchase wine. After some careful shopping, I ended up selecting 8 solid wines, all of which were from California, Spain, Portugal, and one from southern France. Here’s the list: Wine List
For the twenty persons who attended, it was there first time tasting Cava, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Grenache, Chardonnay, Tawny Port Wine, and among some of the others I had brought. I knew this a little before, but most Koreans tend not to like red wines as much as they primarily prefer sweet whites. For instance, the Cava and Riesling were everyone’s favorite, in addition to the sweet and smooth Tawny Port Wine, while the popular and tasty bold red wines in between were not favored as much. From my observation, Koreans don’t seem to be impressed by red wine’s complexity and tannins compared to the sweet, easy-drinking whites. However, the tasting session ended quite well. Michelle, who tried Tawny Port Wine for the first time in Busan a few months ago, insisted that I bring one as it’s now her favorite wine, and I’m very glad I listened to her as everyone really enjoyed it, more than I anticipated.
Overall, this event really gave an opportunity for those in attendance to taste wines they probably wouldn’t normally try, and when I returned for a checkup at the orthodontist the following morning, several of those who were present the night before commented on the fact that they were planning to go wine shopping later that same day. I’m confident that my presentation piqued their curiosity to experiment and try some wines out there. I hope to have the opportunity to conduct a “Wine Tasting – Part 2” someday, as there are so many other great wines from the USA, Europe, and Australia that most Koreans do not know about and would be fun to introduce.
Below are some of the photos taken at the presentation and wine & food pairing session:
Psalms 104:14-15 – “He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth; And wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face to shine, and bread which strengtheneth man’s heart.” (King James Version)
Psalms 104:14-15 – “He makes grass grow for the cattle, and plants for people to cultivate—bringing forth food from the earth: wine that gladdens human hearts, oil to make their faces shine, and bread that sustains their hearts.” (New International Version)