Seoul (South Korea), March 4: South Korea's wine imports reached a record high in 2020 as more people enjoyed drinking at home and alone due to the coronavirus outbreak, data showed Thursday.
Asia's fourth-largest economy imported 54,127 tons of wines last year, up 24.4 percent from a year earlier, according to the data by the Korea Customs Service and industry sources.
The value of imported wines also jumped 27.3 percent from a year ago to US$330 million.
Industry watchers attributed last year's surge to coronavirus-induced social distancing measures that resulted in decreased company dinners and prompted more people to enjoy drinking wine at home and alone.
Chile was the top exporter of wine to South Korea with 14,703 tons, or 27.2 percent of the total, followed by Spain with 10,200 tons, Italy with 7,453 tons, France with 7,057 tons and the United States with 5,503 tons.
By value, France was the leading exporter with $93.48 million, or 28.3 percent of the total, as its wines are far more expensive than other imports. Chile came next with $58.55 million, trailed by the U.S. with $56.03 million and Italy with $48.73 million, according to the data.