Moonsong Bang, a wine consultant from Seoul in South Korea, is a judge in the Decanter Asia Wine Awards (DAWA).
Moonsong Bang established specialist wine education and consulting company Winevision in Seoul, where she has been educating Korean wine lovers since 2009. A professor for Sookmyung Hospitality Business School’s Le Cordon Bleu Hospitality MBA programme and WSET certified educator, Moonsong has worked in the wine retail business for 10 years and has professional experience as a training co-ordinator, merchandiser and restaurant owner. She completed a degree in French Literature and Language in Korea, studied and worked in Australia, France and the UK, and has visited many wine regions around the world. Moonsong is currently enrolled in the Master of Wine programme. Moonsong has been a Decanter Asia Wine Awards judge since the launch of the competition in 2012.
In August 2012, decanter.com spoke to Moonsong Bang ahead of the first Decanter Asia Wine Awards, which took place in Hong Kong in September 2012.
Tell us a little about yourself – Where are you based and where do you work?
I run a wine education and consulting company called ‘Winevision’ in Seoul, which provides wine education programs such as WSET and Court of Master Sommeliers for Korean wine lovers. I also teach at universities including Le Cordon Bleu Sook Myung Hospitality Business School. I used to live in London, working for Jeroboams and BBR for ten years before settling in Korea in 2009.
How did you first become interested in wine?
It was in Adelaide in Australia when I first discovered wine. I visited a winery in Adelaide Hills with my friends from hotel management school and I immediately fell in love with their wine and the beautiful scenery. After I moved to the UK I joined the wine company Jeroboams and I became more interested in wine and studied it.
What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learn as a wine educator?
There is no finish line when it comes to learning. As I meet students in a classroom every day, I continuously ask myself questions and get motivated to learn more. Of course the inspiration and fun along the way is priceless.
Is there a person/producer you particularly admire within the wine industry?
There are so many people I admire that it is really hard to pick one. But if I have to, I would say Jasper Morris MW who I met back at Berry Bros & Rudd. He is a man of passion, wit and consideration for others, not to mention the wide range of knowledge he possesses about wine.
Which wines are you drinking at home at the moment?
I am not very picky about wine but it is very hot in Korea so I tend to choose chilled Champagne or white wines to cool down at the moment.
What are your favourite food and wine combinations?
I do not think there is a correct answer in wine and food matching so I try various wines with different food. Usually when I try something unconventional I unexpectedly find good combinations. I am currently gathering material to write a book about food and wine, especially combinations suited for Korean cusine. My recommendation is for you to try Bossam (Korean style steamed pork, wrapped in a leaf vegetable) with Alsace Riesling if you have the chance.
Is there a strong wine scene in your city?
The Korean wine market has seen dramatic change in the last ten years. After fast expansion for several years, last 3~4 years have been quite stationary. I believe the Korean public is now catching on to wine. The market environment is also changing as the government is trying to improve the distribution structure and the legalisation of selling wine online is being discussed. These kinds of changes will definitely drive the growth of Korean wine market.
Have you noticed any new trends emerging?
The Korean consumer demands are becoming more diverse as white and sparkling wines are becoming popular in a market which used to be dominated by red wine. Also, consumers are moving toward new countries and brands. When you looked at a wine list a while ago, all you could find was wines from France and Chile but now wines from Spain, South Africa and Argentina are getting more attention.
Finally, what are you looking forward to most about judging at the Decanter Asia Wine Awards?
I am very happy to be a part of the Decanter Asia Wine Awards. Interacting with many wine professionals from various countries, learning from their knowledge and experience, it will be a great learning opportunity for me to prepare for the MW exam. It will also be fun to compare with other international wine competitions that I judge for.