K-Food Newsletter

Cover Story / Fell in love with the sweetness of Korean grapes
2019-09-02 13:32:19

In the grape producing regions of Korea, it is full of fresh and sweet aroma of grapes. This is because grape harvesting is usually concentrated between July and September. The most typical varieties produced in Korea are Campbell Early, Kyoho, and Shine Muscat, which continues to be exported to other countries. In recent years, Korean wines have also been internationally acclaimed, which was possible thanks to the strict selection of product by farmers, training on quality improvement, and systematic cultivation techniques. Let us now explore the world of delicious Korean grapes!



Campbell Early, the dominator of Korean grapes

The Campbell Early accounts for 60% of the grapes grown in Korea. The annual production is about 210,000 tons with dedicated farming area of 13,000 ha. Unlike foreign grapes which are sweet in general, the Korean Campbell Early allows to experience both sweet and sour flavor at the same time, which is the reason why it is sought after in the overseas market. In addition, this grape is juicy and the skin is easily separated, thus consumed as fresh fruit. The fact that the Campbell Early is rich in vitamins and sugar makes an effective solution for skin care and fatigue recovery. Moreover, the high content of potassium promotes sodium excretion and helps control blood pressure. The polyphenols in purple grape skin and seeds also prevent cancer and aging by removing harmful substances that accumulate in the body.


Additional Info: A green stalk means it’s fresh. Also the white powder on the surface is no any other harmful ingredients but sugar; the more the powder, the sweeter the grapes. The grapes are the sweetest at the top and gradually taste sour toward the bottom. Try the bottom ones when you are looking for good grapes.     



Kyoho, the King of grapes

With a definition of gigantic peak, ‘Kyoho’ is characterized by large grapes with only one seed inside. This type of grape is regarded as the essence of grapes in Japan owing to its sugar content of 18 Brix and its exceptional flavor. The top quality Kyoho grapes are as large as a small plum with thick but soft skin and sweet flesh. A wealth of nutrients such as minerals, vitamins, calcium, potassium, and iron are contained in Kyoho, which is usually eaten fresh and also used for wines and salad. Above all, this grape is one of the best fruits when it’s presented with meaty dishes, plus a great dessert when served cold peeled without any decoration. A fresh Kyoho should be tightly spaced between the grapes and not separated. Falling grapes when picked up by hand are definitely not fresh which has been left long after the harvest.


* Additional Info: When you wash Kyoho, sprinkle a pinch of flour lightly and rinse it after 10 minutes. Then, the harmful residues are removed and washed together so that you can eat them cleanly and safely.



Shine Muscat, a loyal steady seller of export

The Shine Muscat has yellow-green color unlike purplish Campbell Early and Kyoho, and has a thick and crisp texture. This grape carries a strong grape aroma and is also called as ‘mango grapes’ as it is distinguished by its unique taste of mango flavor when chewed. As it is well known for its high sweetness, the average sugar content reaches 18 to 20 Brix, which is exceptionally sweet compared to other fruits such as strawberries (13 Brix), pears (15 Brix), and bananas (16 Brix).

Although the export price of this variety is about three times higher than that of Kyoho, it can be stored for up to three months at a low temperature and is popular both at home and abroad thanks to its sweet taste. In recent years, the Shine Muscat has been leading the export of Korean grapes through meticulous management of cultivation technology and strict selection process of export volume. The representative cultivation regions of Shine Muscat in Korea include Sangju and Gimcheon, Gyeongsangbuk-do.


* Additional Info: It is recommended to keep the grapes at room temperature for 2-3 days to taste even more delicious Shine Muscat. The sugar content heightens as it is left to ripen at room temperature after picking. For long term storage, wrap it in a kitchen towel and place it in the refrigerator.


#Acclaimed Korean wines throughout the world

The city of Yeongcheon, Gyeongsangbuk-do is a major producer of grapes which is also renowned for wine production. Yeongcheon city has been improving wine quality through continuous quality improvement education and consulting since 2009, and is recognized as an excellent wine at numerous domestic wine competitions, which has led a series of export business to Australia and the United States.

Recently, Yeongcheon's Ogeyri Winery won the Gold Award for 2016 Ice Wine, and Godori Winery won the Silver Award for 2017 White Wine made from Cheongsoo varieties at Summer Tasting of ‘Berlin Wine Trophy’ in Berlin, Germany.

Last year, ‘We Winery’ won the Silver Award for Red Wine and the Gold Award for White Wine for the first time among the Korean wines at Berlin Wine Trophy.

The Berlin Wine Trophy is one of the world's five largest international wine competitions, and is the world's largest competition held under the approval and supervision of the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV). A total of 6327 wines from 34 countries were exhibited and 196 judges from 34 countries screened for the winners of the Grand Gold, Gold and Silver Award wines.


#Immerse yourself in the charm of Korean wine!

If you want to try out Korean wines, it is recommended to visit Gwangmyeong Cave located in Gyeonggi-do. In the past, this cave was used for mining gold and silver which has surpassed 5 million visitors after 4 years of opening with an admission fee, making it one of the major tourist attractions in the metropolitan area. Starting with the Seoul Arts Center, many artworks are exhibited in collaboration with numerous artists inside the cave, where light decorations and new media in the dark backgrounds bring something beyond imagination. Although the tunnel was considered as a mere industrial site before transforming itself into a wine cave, there are now more than 170 kinds of Korean wines sold nationwide which is the one and only place where all local wines are gathered and sold. Gwangmyeong Cave is filled with interesting stories related to wine, including the history, the country of origin, glass and festivals, manufacturing process, and labels. The visitors can also taste and purchase excellent quality of domestic wines made from grapes and other specialty fruits across the country. The Korean wine sold in Gwangmyeong Cave has reached the record of 43,000 bottles (10% of Korean wine sales per year) in 2016 alone.













* Tip

Operating Hours 09: 00 ~ 18: 00

Closed on Mondays

Admission Fee: Adults 6,000 won / Teenagers 3500 won / Children 2000 won

Address: 142 Gahak-ro 85Beon-gil, Gwangmyeong-si, Gyeonggi-do



#Export of the finest grape, Shine Muscat


Since the first export of premium grape Shine Muscat to Thailand in 2015, Gosan Agricultural Corporation is enjoying the high trust from overseas buyers. This is because only selected optimum products are exported and grapes with high sugar content are produced with strict cultivation technology. The top quality Shine Muscat is drawing more attention as exports are expanded to the world market.



Pioneering export with high quality grape production

Gosan Agricultural Co. has exported 108 tons of Shine Muscat in 2018. Since its first export to Thailand in 2015, the company has expanded its exports to Vietnam, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore in 2016. In the following year, the company has started exporting to China, and established itself as the world's first-rate Shine Muscat export corporation.


The 75 grape farmers participating in Gosan Agricultural Co. export the whole quantity of harvested Shine Muscat abroad. In 2017, a box of 3 clusters of Shine Muscat was sold at a high price of 80,000 won in China's luxurious department store which was out of stock in a week after it became popular with local consumers. Most of all, the taste is superior to Japanese Shine Muscat while the price is relatively low, so the export volume continues to grow.


The Shine Muscat varieties were imported from Japan in 2013, and differentiated cultivation techniques were spread throughout the country; nonetheless, Gosan’s cultivation expertise remained overwhelming. The grapes were rather light in weight but could maintain the high sugar content of more than 18 Brix on average with meticulous management of cultivation techniques.

A strict export quality control also contributed to the expansion of exports by removing grapes with low commercial value or low sugar content from selection process.



















Strict export control for exporting above 18 Brix

Gosan's export method adheres to the high quality high price strategy. The price is lower than the Japanese products yet the quality is similar or superior. In addition, the export products are carefully selected concerning the sugar content and color, and its outstanding cultivation technology is also expected to overtake Japan in the near future.

At present, the overseas consumers prefer large clusters but are likely to turn to smaller ones in the long term, and the corporation already possesses the cultivation technology to produce such grapes for export. As the overseas buyers are increasing their purchases, cultivation area has been expanded to more than twice the size compared to last year; however, the orders still remain high to keep up with demand.

In the long term, the exports are likely to be expanded further to China and the Southeast Asia, as well as the American and Australian market will be developed to achieve the export of USD10 million within 5 years following the export of 200 tons this year.



Kim Hyung-su, CEO of the Gosan Agricultural Association, said, “Since the excellence of Shine Muscat became widely known, many Thai and buyers have shown a great interest in our grapes. As the production capacity has been insufficient, we have doubled the production this year compared to last year; yet there is always a shortage of supplies that buyers can demand. With increasing awareness in the export market, we will continue to work on our exports by improving the production.”


Inquiries GOSAN Farming Association Corporation

Tel : +82-54-533-2525

Fax : +82-54-533-2505

E-mail : gosan_yn@naver.com

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