Thailand leading the ‘tropical wine revolution’

Although Thailand is renowned for its beer and Mekhong Whiskey, the Kingdom’s vintners have been successfully overcoming the challenges of climate and acidic soil to produce wines that are placing Thailand at the forefront of a ‘tropical wine revolution,’ according to German news website DW Akademie.

Thailand’s ‘wine country’ is centered around Khao Yai, also home to the famed national park, in Nakhon Ratchasima province in the lower northeast. The area, called alluring and bucolic by the website, is a plateau and so has a slightly milder climate that winemakers of which winemakers have taken advantage.

“Viticulture in the tropics is extremely labor intensive. But we are convinced by the potential of Thai wine, especially in Khao Yai. People were initially shocked by the idea of Thai wine, but this is rapidly changing,” said Nikki Lohitnavy, whose father Visooth founded a 40-acre vineyard in 2001.

Two other regions further south have also been emerging as wine-growing areas: the hills around Hua Hin and farmland near the beach resort of Pattaya. Khao Yai, however, is the premier wine region in Thailand.

“While Thailand remains the ultimate exotic beach destination for many international travelers, Khao Yai’s enigmatic and organic appeal is seeing visitor numbers grow annually – with wine complementing the back to nature allure,” the website said.

The GranMonte label from Khao Yai “has become the leading ambassador for Thai wine both at home and abroad: converting locals – traditionally beer and spirit drinkers – the elixir, as well as exporting into Asia, Europe and beyond,” website said.

GranMonte’s red wines have won international awards, including both the 2009 Asoke Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. The two won three Golds at the prestigious Austrian Wine Challenge in Vienna.

“Maverick Thai winemakers are proving this tropical country’s ability to produce quality wine,” DW Akademie said. “Thailand is leading the tropical wine revolution, fortified by India, Brazil, China, and Vietnam, who are all equally determined to shift both the somatic and metaphysical frontiers of viticulture.”