Vineworks: Interactive Wine Tasting in Seoul

When it comes to wine, Ian Ashworth is not only knowledgeable but he is super enthusiastic in making wine as approachable as possible and that’s why he founded Vineworks.

Ian and I met some years ago when we were extras in a film together and we were paired up as husband and wife and that’s where our story begins… Okay, there’s not much of a story. We walked back and forth for a couple hours and chatted it up on life and dreams in Korea while more famous actors did their lines again and again. Since I’ve known him, he’s been an avid wine geek always trying to share his passion for the libation with others and it was high time I attended a wine tasting hosted by him.

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Vineworks, Sangsu, Seoul, Korea: Wine Tasting

Located near Sangsu Station in the popular Hongdae/Hapjeong area of Seoul, Vineworks is located in a chic white building and they host events on the fourth floor, fifth floor and they will soon be hosting events on the rooftop!

With a large table that everyone can sit around together to wine and dine as they listen to Ian talk at length about each wine and how to completely indulge in it, our group of misfits was able to partake, learn and dine together on his home-cooked dishes. From the seating to the activities, it’s in keeping with the aesthetic that he is not only a wine company but also a communications company.

Vineworks, Sangsu, Seoul, Korea: Wine Tasting

Ian hopes to not only educate people on the wine they’re drinking, but he wants to do it in a communal way to allow everyone to have a fun interactive activity to explore cultures and eat home cooked meals together.

While some wine aficionados can be a bit snooty and wine itself is considered a chicer alcoholic beverage as it is, a big part of Ian’s events are centered on promoting wine in an attainable way. Anyone can drink wine and you can enjoy any wine be it the W7,000 stuff I was savoring at my birthday picnic this past weekend or the W65,000 bottle you buy for special occasions. I found his approach and the way he explained this especially appealing as I enjoy wine, but I really like that cheap “Australia Wine” from time to time… okay most of the time. Literally, it’s just labeled “Australia Wine”. And Ian says that is a-okay.

Vineworks, Sangsu, Seoul, Korea: Wine Tasting

A Vineworks tasting is intimate but oh so fun. Ian provides in depth information for those of us that learn through listening, but he also provides activities such as a sniff test, a blind taste test and more so that those in attendance can really learn how to properly savor a wine. It’s not all that tough to get into the fun though. Ian explained that all you need to do is:

  1. Look at the wine and check the color but also check that there isn’t anything floating around in it. The first step has evolved over time to where people stare at their wine almost longingly, but you can imagine, that originally, people were just checking to make sure there wasn’t crud in their glass.
  2. Swirl the wine around and let it breathe. This releases the aromas in the wine glass that has been designed to do just that.
  3. Smell the quaff that comes off of the wine. Before we were released to smell our wines, Ian sent around bottles of other ingredients such as strawberries, leather, cinnamon and more so that we could test our sniffing acuity first. (Mine is not that great apparently!)
  4. Sip the wine. Let the wine rest on your tongue and then swallow it. Ian isn’t all about the sipping and spitting. We’re here to enjoy a drink in the comfort of the space so enjoy that drink.

Vineworks, Sangsu, Seoul, Korea: Wine Tasting

For our tasting we sipped:

  • Chispas – A Spanish sparkling wine in an Italian style
  • La Peruga Rose – A popular bio-organic Italian rose
  • La Peruga EOS – Another bio-organic wine from Veneto DOC in Northeast Italy
  • Querceto Chianti
  • Doppio Passo Primativo Puglia

Vineworks, Sangsu, Seoul, Korea: Wine Tasting

Paired with the wines, we also indulged in:

  • A vegetarian quiche made with Ashworth’s mom’s recipe
  • Garlic Shrimp: Jordi from Barcelona’s Brothers favorite recipe
  • A selection of cheeses and fruits
  • Mogo‘s lentil filled homemade tacos. Mogo is “the healthy way to eat conveniently”. Free of artificial flavors, colors, and other additives, they ship ingredients right to your doorstep anywhere in Korea. (Get their Cincinnati Spaghetti or the tacos, you will NOT be disappointed. Also, as soon as you create an account on their site, you’ll get a FREE meal kit coupon in your inbox so the first meal is FREE! Gotta take them up on that offer.)

Vineworks, Sangsu, Seoul, Korea: Wine Tasting

Most of his tastings are a 50/50 split between Koreans and foreigners that come to learn and he hosts not only fun tastings, but he also hosts business meeting tastings as well. Ian thinks that wine is proper for any kind of event and I couldn’t agree more. There’s a book club that regularly meets to drink and talk and events focused solely on the wining and dining.

Which tasting would you be most interested in attending? From regular weekly events to special weekend events, there is so much going on at Vineworks, something is sure to work with your schedule. 

Every Tuesday: Spanish Evenings. Take a tour of Spain through wine.

Every Wednesday: Vegetarian & Biodynamic/Natural wine pairings.

Fridays Through The Month of April: French Fridays; From Burgandy to Bordeaux, learn more about the French wines.

First Rooftop Event: April 23, Vineworks will host a rooftop Braai BBQ to kickoff spring rooftop time!

The ambiance is on point, the food and drink are oh so delicious and it’s a learning opportunity as well as a community building activity.

Sign up solo and meet some new folks or sign up with a friend or lover and enjoy a night out. You will NOT be sorry you did.

Vineworks, Sangsu, Seoul, Korea: Wine Tasting

Hongdae is a great district to hang out in day or night. Head to the area a bit earlier to enjoy some of these other awesome spots and then visit Vineworks to end the night on a high.

Know Where To Stay!

Want to stay in this area with great cafes, restaurants and a night life of live music and art? Stay in the Hongdae district. This district is known for live music venues, restaurants and art. One place that you should check out is L7 Hotel. It’s easy to get to from the subway and has all of the amenities you would want in a chic stay. Lotte Hotel is renowned for its quality services and friendly staff, and L7 Hongdae lives up to expectations. Another great option in the area is Nine Brick Hotel. Not only is this hotel chic, but gorgeous inside and out and a bit different than many spots to stay in the area. Also easy to find on the main road and near a subway station. Guests can choose from 94 rooms, all of which exude an atmosphere of total peace and harmony.

Vineworks Korea


Mapo—gu Sangsu-dong 315-7 4f/5f

서울특별시 마포구 상수동 315-7

Phone: 070-4206-9993

Email: [email protected]

Opening hours: Event registration only, but regular “open bar” evenings and with the weather getting warmer, casual roof top evenings.

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8 Responses

  1. Wendy Flor says:

    Sangsu had been my playground lately…. shopping and just the overall youthful ambiance… less crowded than Hongdae. I soon love it that I got to read this post. I’m a sucker for wine (not an expert, I just love to drink with hubby and friends)… so yeah, location and ambiance are perfect. I will definitely ask my husband to register us here. Thanks!

  2. Wow, this is fantastic! What a great idea. I am often left feeling embarrassed about what wine Im drinking (ahem *W5000 bottles*) or when asked what wine i prefer…i love ’em all. I love that these are community based and make wine approachable! YAY!

  3. It’s my first time to hear about Vineworks. Your pictures make me want to experience it. I think I shall do my first ever wine testing there before I leave Seoul. Thanks for this very comprehensive guide!

  4. Whenever I read about tastings or festivals, I really, really wish I was wine drinker, and it looks like Ian’s got a great thing going, and with perfect timing here in Korea too. Sharing a bottle of wine seems like such a great way to chat and get to know other people, but alas, I can never do it, cuz drinking just makes me feel awful. A sip or two is all I can manage…but I do enjoy them. 🙂

  5. Wine tastings and classes are among my favorite things, so Vineworks sounds amazing! I love that he does the dinner pairings and that you can learn from the different people, perspectives and cultures represented around the table. Plus, you get great wine — there is no downside! Go Ian!

  6. Wine is one thing I think which brings people together like all kinds of people like wine. in this article there are different types of wine mentioned i which is really creative.. I love the different kinds of wines mentioned.. the photograph of the wine and the Bar and the people are really amazing… I personally think that wine tasting is an art and that everyone should experience this art, at least once in their life.

  7. Cori Carl says:

    This looks really fun. Every meeting is better over wine and food! I have a friend who loves doing taste tests of decidedly not high class things — weird chips, cookies, pizza delivery, fourloko, etc — but maybe we should give it a try with the more traditional wine.

  1. June 9, 2017

    […] Market over to Hongdae and then down to Hapjeong and Sangsu, the after party culminated in Vineworks, a wine tasting venue that is perfect for all of your intimate party needs. Teams mingled and jingled with one another as […]

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