Floating Vineyards of Thailand

January 26, 2007 at 1:35 am Leave a comment

I visited a large winery situated near Samut Sakorn, 50 KM southwest of Bangkok, called Siam Winery. It is a very nice facility and very modern. Their business is thriving in Thailand’s growing wine markets but most of the growth is attributed to exports to Europe. Actually, 80% of the production is exported and ends up at the table of Thai and other Asian restaurants in Europe and the USA.

What has made them popular here in Thailand is its line of coolers called “Spy” which are “drinkable”. Their line of wines is light, fruity and could match spicy Thai cuisine quite well. They certainly have an interesting story and have done a brilliant job of marketing it.

The grapes used to make the wines are from Thailand’s “floating vineyards”. A unique way to grow grapes hydroponically in the very wet flood lands in central Thailand.

This is what I found very interesting and was lucky enough to be given a tour of the vineyards while workers were busy harvesting. Grapes grown vary from local indigenous varieties to Colombard for white and even some Shiraz for red. There are up to three harvests of grapes a year! However, we were told that the spring harvest yields better quality grapes as it is a drier time of the year.

I think Thai grape wine is an interesting and curious product for people outside of Thailand. As the quality increases, so will its popularity. However, in my opinion, the real future in Thai wines lays elsewhere. What is Thailand known for in terms of food and beverage? It is not grapes but its high quality and very abundant tropical fruits. I think making a high quality and well-presented tropical fruit wine is where Thailand can make some real headway in the “global wine world”.

Anyway, it was a very interesting day out and lovely countryside. If you see some Thai wines at your local Thai restaurant, give it a try!

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