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S. Korea's wine imports jump on high demand: customs service
SEOUL, Dec. 8 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's imports of wine jumped during the first 10 months of this month on growing demand for red and sparkling varietals, the customs agency said Thursday.

   The country brought in US$104.5 million worth of wine products during the January through October period, up 18.4 percent from a year earlier, according to a report by the Korea Customs Service.

   A total of 27.2 million bottles of wine was imported during the period, which was a 6 percent gain from a year earlier.

   Red wine accounted for 69 percent of the total, while white and sparkling varietals accounted for 24 percent and 7 percent, respectively, the report showed.

   The latest report showed red and sparkling wine imports jumped 9.9 percent and 58.3 percent on-year during the period. Imports of white wine fell 10.3 percent.

   The increase is in line with fast-growing demand for wine in South Korea. Wine imports as a whole have spiked 388.5 percent in money terms and 161 percent in quantity.

   During the cited period, South Korea imported its largest quantity of wine from Chile, which supplied one quarter of the total. French wine took the largest value chunk of 32 percent.

   South Korea imported a total of $436 million worth of alcohol last year, including wine, whiskey and beer, up 67 percent from 2001, according to the report.