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The gateway to consumption freedom through a communal glass of wine: South Korean female wine consumers and wine consumption community

Kyuho Lee (Department of Business Administration, Sonoma State University, Rohnert Park, California, USA)
Melih Madanoglu (Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, Florida, USA)
Steve W. Henson (Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, North Carolina, USA)
Jae-Youn Ko (Kyung Hee University, Seoul, Republic of Korea)

International Journal of Wine Business Research

ISSN: 1751-1062

Article publication date: 17 June 2019

Issue publication date: 19 August 2019




Confucian philosophy emphasizes gender roles that place significant restrictions on the consumption of non-traditional products. The authors use wine to advance our understanding of how South Korean female consumers have established a new female gender role and identity by adopting new communities that allow non-traditional consumption while still accepting gender roles. This paper aims to examine how South Korean female consumers create a unique consumption culture with respect to wine consumption.


A hermeneutic approach was adopted to understand what motivates South Korean female consumers to join a wine consumption community and their perceptions about consuming wine. Researchers conducted 26 semi-structured face-to-face interviews that ranged from 45 to 120 min, with an average duration of 1 h.


The results of the study suggest that wine can be a medium for emancipating women from traditional gender roles and social images of women embedded in South Korean society that call for women to sacrifice themselves for their families. In addition, the study’s findings suggest that Western wine marketers need to understand the power of wine consumption communities that are a unique consumption ritual among South Korean female wine consumers.


South Korean female respondents drink wine as both a way to seek pleasure through a Western alcoholic beverage and to consume and experience Western culture and lifestyles. However, South Korean female respondents tend to drink wine within consumption communities, which are a powerful consumption ritual in South Korea. In other words, although South Korean female respondents consume wine to experience and learn about Western culture and lifestyles, they have entirely not abandoned their traditional consumption rituals.



Lee, K., Madanoglu, M., Henson, S.W. and Ko, J.-Y. (2019), "The gateway to consumption freedom through a communal glass of wine: South Korean female wine consumers and wine consumption community", International Journal of Wine Business Research, Vol. 31 No. 3, pp. 303-326.



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