Tasting wines from across the world at the International Wine and Spirits Fair in Daejeon, the largest wine competition in Asia
I’d been patiently waiting for Autumn to arrive; not because of the cool weather and vibrant foliage – there was something else that I’d been eagerly anticipating, a trip to Daejeon’s International Wine and Spirits Fair.
If you read our previous post about craft beer in Korea, you’ll know that drinking lager isn’t really my thing. Imagine my excitement when I heard about the chance to sample wines from across the world for a mere 10,000 won (£7.00) at the largest wine competition in Asia.
Steph, a friend and fellow wine-enthusiast was keen to join me, and well it doesn’t take much to persuade Dave to attend any event that is alcohol related. We arrived at the Daejeon Convention Centre (DCC) around midday and paid the very reasonable entry fee in exchange for a wristband and an empty glass – which I was very excited to fill.
The spacious exhibition hall was lined with booths showcasing wines and spirits from around the world, as well as wine wholesalers and wine related arts and crafts.
Most of the wine had come from Western Europe, but we enjoyed the opportunity to sample some Mongolian vodka and traditional Korean liquors.
The main event at the festival is the battle for the Asia Wine Trophy. More than 4,000 wines from around the globe entered the competition which was judged by 160 wine experts.
The winner hadn’t been confirmed whilst we were there, but our favourite was a seasonal Spatburgunder Rose from Germany; warm and sweet – it really did taste like Christmas.
Just when we thought the day couldn’t get any better, we saw it – heaven on earth, the free wine tasting zone.
After all of the samples I was convinced that my eyes were deceiving me, but to our delight there was indeed a free wine tasting zone; pour as much as you want, as often as you want kind of free tasting zone.
We knew the entry fee included one glass of wine and a selection of free samples, but we didn’t realise there would be a whole zone dedicated to free wine tasting! Feeling like kids at Christmas, Steph and I indulged in countless glasses of prosecco and sparkling wine, whist Dave made his way down the table of reds.
In search for food (and fresh air) we quite literally stumbled outside to the food court in Hanbit Tower Square to find several food trucks offering pizza, kebabs and hotdogs as well as Korean street food.
After a well needed lunch break to soak up some of the alcohol, we were ready for round two.
We spent around five hours at the wine festival – I challenge you to spend longer without having to take a nap in the corner of the room.
Five hours gave us plenty of time to walk round the booths and sample all kinds of wine from Mongolia to Moldova. The servers were friendly and very informative without pushing us to make any purchases.
Considering a glass of wine at a restaurant or bar in Korea usually sets you back at least 7,000 won, the festival really is great value for money and perfect for wine lovers who’ve had to sacrifice pino for pints whilst living in Korea.
Rating 9/10: An absolute must visit if you’re into wine and spirits, great value for money and the perfect way to sample a huge selection of wines from every corner of the globe. Many of the vendors were also offering discounts and deals on their wine if you were keen to take home a bottle or two (or three!) The only thing missing was cheese! Remember to take some ID with you.
When: The festival takes place during the Autumn months; this year we visited on Saturday 29th October. For more information visit www.djwinefair.com or try emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
How to get there: Daejeon has a huge bus terminal with direct routes across the country, there’s also a KTX station if you want to catch the train. We caught the bus to Daejeon and then took a ten minute taxi to the Daejeon Convention Centre (DCC) costing around 7,000 won.