60 seconds: North Korean rice wine
Chalkmarks Wine
Chalkmarks Wine

What it is?

Koguryo Traditional Oriental Medicine.

O…k, 0ne question – is this wine?

Yep, but it’s a nice little bottle of rice wine from North Korea so shhh….

So, what does it taste like? 

I dunno. I don’t think it’s going to be oaky or zingy or even sweet. It’ll have a unique flavour for sure. 

What’s the problem?

I’ve probably got the only bottle outside the country.

I’m listening…

It’s been banned since the Korean War. There are lots of international sanctions in place and wine is just one of them.

They must really hate each other. Wau!

No, I said war!

I know, I said Wau – that’s Korean for wow. 

Ok, I didn’t know that.

Did you smuggle it out? 

Oh nooooo. I popped in to the gift shop in no-man’s land – that’s the area at the border between North and South Korea. It’s called the Demilitarized Zone or the DMZ for short. This is the only place where you can cross over in to the North.

So it wasn’t so risky then?

Not really. It was up on the shelf alongside the nuts, chocolate and souvenir barbed wire.

Let’s crack it open then?

No way! I’m never going to open it. This bottle is a collectors’ item. It’s as rare as the Crown Jewels. It’s gonna make me rich.

But it’s just rice wine. What’s the point?

We only hear about North Korea when there’s bad news. No-one thinks they’re out there making wine. Plus this is like the last choccie biccie in the tin because there were no more bottles in the gift shop. We were told at the DMZ that they weren’t getting any more. This bottle gets more precious by the second. 

I’ll make you an offer: I’ll give you a fiver?

That’s outrageous. A return flight is around £400 then a tour to the DMZ is £30. Plus the wine cost me £17, which makes it the most expensive bottle of wine I’ve ever bought. It was a bit steep, I know. Aaaand, it has that expensive ginseng leaf floating inside.

All in, I’d say it’s worth at least £447! 

You’re nuts. This is just a novelty for tourists. 

Er, excuse me but no it isn’t. I don’t think you quite appreciate….Look, I’m just gonna tweet this out there and you’ll see the offers role in. 

Do it!




What now?

I’ve dropped it!


Wait. I still have the box. I’ll take that fiver!

I need a drink 

Get back to me???

Chalkmarks DMZ
Chalkmarks DMZ
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