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Portugal eager to uncork Korean push

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Portuguese Vice Minister for Internationalization Jorge Costa Oliveira, center, poses with Portuguese Ambassador to Korea Antonio Quinteiro Nobre, left, and Joana Neves, head of mission for trade and investment at the embassy, at the Portuguese Wine & Food Tasting at Cabo da Roca Wine Cafe in Seoul on June 13. / Korea Times photo by Rachel Lee

By Rachel Lee

Portugal is ready to entice Korean consumers with its quality wines.

At the Portuguese Wine & Food Tasting at Cabo da Roca Wine Cafe in Seoul on June 13, the Embassy of Portugal introduced some of Casca Wines’ products along with Portuguese food.

The event was organized to coincide with Portuguese Vice Minister for Internationalization Jorge Costa Oliveira’s visit to Seoul June 12 to 15.

“We do not produce in large quantities, and we will never do it as others do,” the vice minister told The Korea Times. But he said Portugal was continuing to increase the value and quality of its wines.

Cabo da Roca Wine Cafe, launched on April 25, exclusively features wines from Casca Wines at the venue in Gwangak-gu, southern Seoul.

“Casca Wines is a project developed by revolutionary Portuguese winemaker Helder Cunha and Portuguese wine specialist Alexandre Tirano who, with no vineyards or estates, decided to produce unique wines,” said Joana Neves, head of mission for trade and investment at the embassy.

“The project works with Portugal’s most particular grape growers and the best grapes and tries to renew Portugal’s unique tradition in winemaking.”

At the bar, customers can try Monte Cascas wines from Portugal’s top vineyards. And there are wines from Portugal’s iconic regions such as Douro, Alentejo, Tejo and Dao, Colares. There also are Cabo da Roca wines ― wines of Atlantic influence ― that come from Portuguese coastal wine regions such as Vinho Verde, Bairrada, Lisboa and Setubal.

Cabo da Roca Wine Cafe owner Kim Oh-sung said positive reviews have come from wine experts and customers.

“Portuguese wines sound unfamiliar to most Koreans, but once you try it, you will come back and want more for the quality it gives,” Kim said.

With the launch of the bar, Kim aims to increase the awareness of the brand and market share of Portuguese wines.

Wine prices range from about 25,000 won to 100,000 won.

The vice minister, who was on his second visit to Korea, brought representatives of six companies in the fields of home textiles, furniture design, luxury ceramics and pharmaceuticals. During the stay, they participated in business meetings and joint initiatives with the Korea International Trade Association and the Korea Importers’ Association.

“Korea is a very important market, but still quite unknown to Portuguese companies,” Oliveira said. “There is still a misconception that Korea is a very protective market like Japan, which is quite wrong.”

“There are already some businesses going slowly in Korea. But once Portuguese companies discover Korea, they will come and start doing business.”

For more information about Cabo da Roca Wine Cafe, call 070-4147-3852 or email

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