Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Try Cheongdo's famous persimmon wine at The Gam Wine Tunnel

Cheongdo's wine tunnel is famous for its persimmon wine and inviting atmosphere.
The entrance to the tunnel reveals the old train tracks.
     The moldy green walls and the old brick ceiling inside The Gam Wine Tunnel truly have an old European dungeon like quality.  Upon entering the old railroad tunnel which was built in 1904, you will immediately appreciate the humidity in the air a cold winter day. The 1,000 meter long tunnel located in Cheongdo, Daegu,  was transformed into a wine cellar in 2006, where gam (persimmon) wine is made and stored. The tunnel remains a constant 15 degrees Celcius with a 50-60% humidity.
    The tunnel has recently become a popular tourist spot and Cheongdo's second source of income. Every town in Korea is famous for some kind of product, natural beauty, or tradition. Cheongdo happens to be famous for their abundance of persimmons. You can view a live English news cast about the tunnel online from Arirang TV.  Because of the tunnels newly found popularity, I strongly recommend going to the tunnel off season (any time besides Autumn) to avoid the crowds. January was a perfect month to go on a weekend because there were hardly any people willing to brave the tunnel which has been described by many Koreans as freezing cold. I couldn't disagree with this statement more, as the tunnel was a warm and cozy environment with rich air and damp surroundings.
Marie Webb with her friends Melanie and Laurent enjoying their wine.
    Of course my favorite part of the tunnel was sipping away 3 glasses of the persimmon wine. The winery offers its guests a free tasting of their two regular wines. The "special blend" was far too high in alcohol content for me at about 16%. The flavor was harsh and actually reminded me of a badly flavored vodka. However, I did enjoy the regular persimmon wine which was much sweeter and lightly flavored. After tasting the wine, you can order a glass for a reasonable price of 3,000-4,000 won, or an entire bottle for 18,000 to 25,000 won. But as a hardcore fine, red wine lover, I didn't think any of the wine was worth buying. 

A great place to stop and take a picture inside the tunnel.
     Unfortunately the winery does not offer its guests a free tasting of their rare persimmon ice wine. Because the temperature must be extremely cold to produce the ice wine, the small bottles come at a steep price of 89,000 won. If you are hungry, there is also a small restaurant where you can order food and snacks such as cheese and fruit to compliment your wine. A small fruit and cheese plate will only run you 5,000 won, so it is possible to make this trip cheap.
     The wine tunnel truly has an ambiance of love and passion. There are beautiful places throughout the tunnel to stop and take your picture. Such as cute white benches surrounded by fake persimmon trees, and a giant wire artwork resembling a bottle of wine and a glass which is completely covered in lights. Yes the atmosphere is definitely eerie at times, at one portion of the tunnel it becomes very dark. But the dim lights and candles only add to the romantic vibe.

A giant wire figure rests at the end of the tunnel.
    Much of the historical information was received from The Korea Tourism Organizations article written by Kimberly Paul. You can find more information about the tunnel, and complete directions to the tunnel here.  Keep in mind that this winery is located in Daegu, about up to 5 hours in a car and 2 hours by KTX. I took a Mugangwha train from Seoul Station to Dong Daegu (3 1/2 hours) for only 22,000 won and then a train to Cheongdo (20 minutes) for only 2,500 won. Once at Cheongdo you can take an inexpensive bus to the tunnel, or hop in a taxi for a 7,000 won ride. The taxi line is on the same side of the Cheongdo train station, when you exit just turn left and walk about a minute. Visit my article about taking the train in Korea for even more help with arranging your travel plans.

One of the wine barrels next to an old opening filled with persimmon wine bottles.

Small picnic tables line the tasting and dining area.

The tree types of Gamgrin persimmon wine.
Where the tunnel stops for regular visitors. A tour further into the tunnel may be arranged in advanced.

A view of the moldy green and red ceiling and stone walls.
If you have any questions or comments about "Savor Cheongdo's famous persimmon wine at The Gam Wine Tunnel" please leave them in the comment box below or email them to goneseoulsearching@gmail.com

Creative Commons License  Gone Seoul Searching by Marie Webb is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at goneseoulsearching@gmail.com.

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Creative Commons License
Gone Seoul Searching by Marie Webb is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at goneseoulsearching@gmail.com.
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