“Dark, classy, expensive, pretentious, stuck up, formal.” Those are some of the words that were floating in my head as I parked my car and walked the short distance to the beautifully silhouetted sign that read “Ile de Vin.” A wine bar located on the second floor of a modern building in the heart of Shin Jeju’s restaurant and bar district, Ile de Vin is five-years-old but went through an ownership change within the last year.
I opened the door to the bar and was warmly greeted by the new owner, Seok Hyeon Kim. I looked around as I was led to a table at the center of the room and was immediately impressed with its design. A curved bar on the right side sits in perfect symmetry with the circular tables spread throughout the rest of the room, each table subtly lit by a small wine glass shaped candle.
We sat down at a comfortable table and, all business, he immediately expressed his passion for wine, exclaiming, “Beer is fattening, and soju just makes you drunk. But, wine is different. Wine has more character, more variety. Wine challenges us to learn more about it in order to truly enjoy it to its fullest.”
It all comes with a price as popular vintages range from 40,000 to 80,000 won or more. But, he happily explained to me, you can buy a bottle and drink from it for up to a week.
With over 130 different wines including 10 new varieties every month available from Chile, France, America, Spain, Italy, Argentina, and New Zealand, and a menu featuring a selection of pastas, salads, breads, and cheeses, Ile de Vin proved to be a great place to visit.
“Warm, inviting, friendly, casual, unique, character.” Those were the words that filled my head as I left this wonderful little wine bar.
▲ Photos by Douglas MacDonald
Ile de Vin: 272-49 Yeondong, Jeju City, Open daily from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. 064-745-1982
Douglas MacDonald is a Canadian-born freelance photographer. He has spent 10 years documenting life and landscapes in South Korea. He won a “Fine Arts” prize in the the 2010 Jeju UN World Heritage International photo contest and his work has been displayed at the Jeju International Airport. Douglas is a Getty Images Artist. You can find his work at flickr.com/photos/dmacs_photos.
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