Let’s just get this out there…the wine tunnel is not what I expected. Let me take you through my dreams of what the wine tunnel would be.
There would be staff to greet my friend Phil and I at the “door” and they would show us to a table in a vast cavern of the tunnel. We would have proper menus and table service. There would be adults in attendance, each quietly enjoying the selection of persimmon wine and it would be glorious. Glorious. You know, more like a vineyard or winery.
Now I’ll explain what it was actually like.
First off, it is packed to the gill with people. I had no idea that what I was going to see was actually just another tourist trap. The 800 meter walk to the tunnel would be lovely if it wasn’t for the cars lined up waiting for parking spaces, screaming and running children everywhere, stalls of food and other persimmon flavored items for sale, and more screaming and running children. In a wine tunnel. Children. Oh, and the only bathroom I could find in the whole place was a two stall shack in between the food stalls. None are actually inside the tunnel. They have really spread the “get in, get out” type message well.
The tunnel is separated into two main parts, the eating/drinking area and the art gallery. There is no wait staff, there is a bar where you order wine by the glass from a teenager and then choose between the pretty subpar snacks. Finding a seat is actually pretty easy since most people buy only one tiny glass of wine to sip on. I believe Phil and I were the only ones around us that bought an actual bottle of wine to split. Why? I kept wondering what the entire point was for them to come to the tunnel.
Also, if you are a foreigner, expect a lot of staring. And by “a lot” I mean, expect every single person who sees you to stare at you and expect children to never stop staring. Also expect that strange thing where people will start speaking in random English to their friends to show off. There are definitely a lot of non-Seoulites there.
The art gallery was unexpectedly good, though and I really enjoyed this part of it. There were three Korean artists exhibiting there and you did get to see the giant wine barrels in the same area.
Even with all my complaining I would still recommend it, if and only if, you are making your way to that area. Don’t go out of your way for it because it is, like I said, a tourist trap and there are more interesting places to go in Korea. Or, just go early! It’s five o’clock somewhere, right? And you’re sure to miss most of the crowd if you go early. I think if I had known what I was getting myself into I would have felt better about the trip.
In my next post I’ll show you the best part, the very quiet temple only 100 meters from the tunnel that no one goes to apparently. It’s nestled among the persimmon trees and was a great find.
UPDATE: Whoops! My aunt asked me how the wine tasted and I realized I never said anything about it! I get so sidetracked. The wine was very nice and we only bought the “regular” at the tunnel. It’s really crisp and clean. Phil also bought a bit more expensive bottle to take home that we’ll have at a picnic sometime this summer.
Next up, I’ll show you the art showcased within the tunnel. Stay tuned!
No entrance fee but the art gallery costs 2,000 won.
Address: 85, Songgeum-gil, Hwayang-eup, Cheongdo-gun, Gyeongsangbuk-do 경상북도 청도군 화양읍 송금길 100 (화양읍
We took a train from Dongdaegu Station in Daegu to the Cheongdo Station. From there we took a cab. It’s very popular and its in Konglish so you can tell the cabbie “Wine Tunnel.”