Young Pioneer Tours

Smiling Grapes – Wine in North Korea

North Korea might not exactly be up there with France when it comes to famous wine-growing regions, but following the release of North Korean whiskey and even North Korean champagne, it was inevitable that the DPRK would get it on the wine-making game.

Let’s start with the newest champagne released by the DPRK. No, actually – before we upset any French readers, let’s try that again. Let’s start with the newest sparkling wine released by North Korea.

North Korean sparkling wine was released in June 2019, not long after the whiskey. It wasn’t exactly Veuve Clicquot, but as first efforts go, wasn’t all that bad.

Not pictured: North Korean wine

North Korea has long played around with grapes, but seems to have taken more inspiration from China rather than France (understandable, given the proximity of the former and the distance of the latter). North Korean wines, such as ‘wild grape wine’, tend to be fairly strong and sickly-sweet.

One wine we actually discovered on the China-DPRK borderlands was blueberry wine – on the sweet side, but surprisingly good.

The strangest and most sought-after North Korean wine, however, is also one of the world’s most expensive due to sanctions: ginseng wine.

Ginseng is famous for its medicinal uses, and ginseng wine (and soju) is a truly amazing thing. Baekseju is a ginseng rice wine, the proponents of which insist will help you live to 100 years old. It’s one of the biggest North Korean commodities craved by their Southern brethren.

We wait anxiously for further sexy drinks sent out from North Korea for us to try!

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