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The power of wine consumption communities in the Korean wine market

Rohnert Park, CA – The Wine Business Institute in the School of Business and Economics at Sonoma State University today released findings from a new research study on South Korean female wine consumers reveal powerful insights for western wine marketers. The qualitative study by Dr. Kyuho Lee, associate professor of Marketing, found that wine is a communal consumption product, a symbol of emancipation from traditional gender roles, and an expression of social status for South Korean female wine drinkers. The full study was recently published in the International Journal of Wine Business Research and is available to the public here: www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/IJWBR-11-2017-0070/full/html.

The study also found that South Korean women are breaking traditional views and perception of wine as a masculine product. These women are transcending gender and cultural norms by drinking and learning about wine within consumption communities in which they have built strong personal bonds with the members, not to be confused with wine clubs. Respondents shared that membership in these wine consumption communities is tied to and is a demonstration of their social identities. In addition, they prefer to consume wine with friends and family rather than individually.

“Wine sales at convenience stores increased by 45.2 percent in 2018, according to a recent article published on Hankyung.com, a Korean daily newspaper. Female Korean wine drinkers ages 20-40 play a crucial role in the growth of the Korean wine market,” said Dr. Lee. “A growing number of Koreans have visited Napa wineries when they traveled to the San Francisco bay area.

South Korean women, and Korean society in general, view wine as an exclusive alcoholic beverage and an expression of social prestige accessible only to those who have the means to purchase and appreciate it. Those who know about and drink wine are perceived as individuals who possess high cultural capital. Respondents view wine and the type of wine (e.g., geographic origin, brand, etc…) an individual drinks as an indicator of wealth.

Education is an important element in South Koreans’ wine consumption because drinking and knowing about wine can elevate their social status,” said Dr. Lee.

For more information about this article and other wine business research, or for more information about our wine business degrees and certificate programs, please contact us at (707) 664-3347 or [email protected], or visit sbe.sonoma.edu/winebiz.

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