Posts tagged ‘wine’

High Hopes for Indian Wines

Been spending time visiting the wineries of parts of India, especially the ones around Nashik and Pune. The whole area is fascinating and hold incredible potential.

The quality of the wines is variable but the enthusiasm is high with high hopes and investment in the industry.

I am here to negotiate distribution and production/consultation deals with some key people here. So far, I like what I am seeing!

April 26, 2009 at 10:22 pm Leave a comment

More Excellent Fruit Wines at Forbidden Fruit!

I am truly amazed at the quality of the fruit wines we are pumping out at Forbidden Fruit Winery in the Similkameen Valley, BC.

Steve and Kim’s commitment to quality and certified organic farming is certainly making a great difference in the wines being made. The awards and medals they are earning from that are a testament to their vision and commitments.

If anyone out there has a chance to try these wines, count yourselves part of the lucky few!

October 22, 2007 at 3:46 am Leave a comment

La Dolce Vida

il Maido Vineyards

Originally uploaded by Rivard

A few days in Northern Italy to survey wineries to work with for the Asian markets has been an eye opener. This beautiful land rich in history and culture is truely a pleasure to be in.

The food and wine is without comparison. The Italian really know how to enjoy themselves are are proud of their heritage and their wine.

Anyway, I found a couple great wineries to work with in the Piacentini region, just south of Milan. I will be back soon I hope…

October 5, 2007 at 8:25 am Leave a comment

Party in Changchun

I was invited to the 70th Anniversary of Tonghua winery in Changchin, Jilin. It was a heck of a party. Over 10 million RMB was spent on the event, so it had better been good.

I was able to meet up with some very interesting people, catch up with some old friends and unfortunatly drink a lot more than I would have liked.

Tonghua winery is the second oldest winery in China and they have announced the purchase of a Canadian winery, so this party was a large scale promotional event to get as much media publicity as possible.

I think they achieved what they wanted…

August 31, 2007 at 6:12 am Leave a comment

A Visit to Chiang Rai Winery

The other day I visited Chiang Rai winery. A beautiful facility surrounded by the lush rugged mountains of Northern Thailand.

We were greeted by smiles, which is obviously common in Thailand and had a very friendly and informative tour of the winery.

I was very interested in visiting this winery, as it is the fruit winery that has the best reputation in Thailand. Their main story is that they make “health wines”. Wines that have health properties in the fruits they use or in the medicinal herbs steeped in the wine.

I tried the off-dry lychee wine that had a great aroma but unfortunately was not very balanced.

The mangosteen wine was interesting and apparently their best seller. However, the wine was a bit vinegary and lacked varietal aroma and taste of what fresh mangosteens demonstrate.

One wine, which I really like and actually purchased, was the “Thai Tokay Wine” made from several kinds of herbs, such as, Doh – Mi – Rue – Lom, Aloe Vera and Santol. An interesting blend made in the sweet style and a nice tropical fruit, honey, almost apricot flavour, which I found alluring.
The winery produces about 40 000 bottles a year and has no problem selling them, mostly to Japanese and Korean tourists.

A trip to Chiang Rai winery proved to be a unique and interesting winery tour that should be done by anyone visiting the

March 11, 2007 at 1:39 am Leave a comment

Kao Yai – The Wine Center of Thailand?

I did a day trip to the beautiful region of Kao Yai, about 1 to 2 hours drive North East of Bangkok. My purpose was to check out this now popular “Thailand wine region”. The area has become the “Napa Valley” of Thailand with a few attractive and pricey wineries clustered around the Nao Yai National Park.

Thailand’s wine industry is about a decade old. It started with Chateau de Loei in the north, followed by Siam Winery to the south of Bangkok in the Chao Phraya Delta. However, the area that now seems to be a centre for wine growing is the Khao Yai National Park. Not only does the area produce wine and grape juices it has become the center for wine tourism.

At 350 metres above sea level and the vineyards situated in valleys, the area has all the right microclimate conditions ideal for growing quality grapes especially for wine making. The wine grapes produced in the area of different varieties including Shiraz, Tempranillo, Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon. A fair amount of table grapes is also grown such as Muscat of Alexandria and Hamburg, Thomson seedless and Perlette.

One of several wineries in the area I visited was GranMonte Family Winery in Asoke Valley, Khao Yai. It conveniently lies adjacent to Khao Yai National Park. Asoke Valley is known in Thailand for the beautiful yellow blossom flower that is special to the region of Khao Yai. The serene atmosphere and truly beautiful surroundings of Asoke Valley, Khao Yai provides a perfect environmental setting for the GranMonte Vineyards.

Next on my stop was a visit to PB Valley Winery, not far from GranMonte. The winery sits amidst a lush 320-hectare plantation, of which 80 hectares is dedicated to growing grapes.

In its sixteenth year of operation, the winery boasts itself as being the birthplace of Thailand’s wine industry.

It has a large-scale wine operation, state-of-the-art technology. We were there a short time and did not try any of the wines, as they were not pouring any at that time. However, we did get to try the most amazing passion fruit juice!

After that, it was a relatively long drive to another winery on the other side of the National park called Village Farm Winery. The winery is very small but quite attractive. The whole area has a rustic feel, which I like, and it also acts as a hotel and restaurant. Again, I did not have any wine as they were sold out!

It was a good day trip but again, I don’t think it is where I will set up my winery. The area is busy over weekends with well to do Bangkok Thais out on the weekend but absolutely dead during the week. I would love to live there for the lifestyle though.

If you ever visit the area, whatever you may think of the wine (and do not go expecting too much), its an interesting alternative day out or weekend away from Bangkok.

February 6, 2007 at 1:38 am 2 comments

Floating Vineyards of Thailand

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!

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

My 15 Minutes of Fame

A couple days before my return to Thailand, I have had a pleasant surprise of being featured in one of Canada’s most read business magazines. Actually, it was not really a surprise as I had talked to a journalist from the magazine a few months ago, but it certainly was still a surprise and very nice to see your name and picture in print!

The article is in French and it talks about my involvement in the Chinese wine industry. It goes on about the fact that me a French Canadian was in China contributing to the industry there and that I am now involved in setting up a winery in Thailand and helping the wine industry in Thailand grow and slowly place itself on the world wine map.

The article has come at a good moment as I am in the middle of raising some capital to get things going for me in South East Asia. It is certainly something I will be using in the executive bios of my business plan.

…It is also doing wonders for my already slightly inflated ego!

January 20, 2007 at 1:30 am Leave a comment

A Canadian Whirlwind Tour…

From the moment of my arrival in Bangkok, it has been a very busy time. Settling in our new home, getting acquainted with the area, meeting new friends and working every other hour available on building the new business plan for the company I am setting up.

Part of the business development included a trip to Canada to visit with clients, meet new ones, negotiate with new wine suppliers, do presentations with investors, government agencies, etc.

Therefore, about a week after arriving in Bangkok, off to Canada I went. My first stop was Vancouver. It was great to visit with old friends there. Then a drive to the Similkameen to make some wine with Forbidden Fruit Winery was in the works. The wines there are so amazing! I can say that I am truly proud of the quality wines being made there. It is always a pure pleasure to work with such passionate people such as owners Kim and Steve.

Back to Vancouver to catch a flight to Calgary to make more wine, this time at Fieldstone Fruit wines. I attended a wine trade show there and was very happy with the great positive response the wines are getting. Marvin and Elaine are doing a great job and the brisk sales are proof of that!

Then, onto Montreal to meet with Robert, a good friend of mine about a project we may do together in Laos, meet with family and enjoy good food! The stop there was brief as people were waiting for me in Southern Ontario. Meetings and presentations were the name of the game. With George of Norfolk Estates, we finished off the purchase of Icewine juice and Late harvest wine juice for this years production. He helped me out with negotiations with Canada’s largest icewine production facility for distribution deals into Asia and then drove with me to the Collingwood area to oversee the setting up of a large apple wine processing facility which I will use to produce some of my wines. While still fighting jet lag, all this has kept me busy and very tired.

Going back to Montreal to finish things off and finally relax will be well deserved…

January 19, 2007 at 1:26 am Leave a comment

The State of Chinese Wine

The first annual China International Wine Forum was help recently in Beijing. It attracted most wine professionals from all over China and many parts of the wine producing world.

It was a good forum, which outlined the tremendous growth of China’s wine industry and the increased investment and involvement by domestic and outside players.

It was a good opportunity for me to meet winemakers and wine industry people from all over the world and make valuable contacts. I even had the chance to meet and chat with the president of the O.I.V. (International Organisation of Vine and Wine) Mr. Federico Castellucci. We discussed the present state of the Chinese wine industry and other issues.

The event was also an opportunity to discuss as an industry the setting up of a national icewine production standard. This is needed, as the present state of icewine production is a mess with countless “fake” icewines in existence in the market. I did a technical speech on the subject, which I think was well received.
The first annual China International Wine Forum was help recently in Beijing. It attracted most wine professionals from all over China and many parts of the wine producing world.

China’s wine industry is attracting a lot of interest from outside. This is because it is growing at the fastest pace seen in history and is viewed as a way to absorb the large wine glut that now exists in parts of Europe and Australia. The increase in quality of Chinese wines and the large vineyard plantings will also start to make Chinese wines known outside of China.

The event was a success and will help put China on the world map in terms of being not only an important market but also a wine producing nation. This will become more and more important as time goes on. You should all start looking for good Chinese wines at a wine store near you…they are coming…

June 8, 2006 at 1:03 am Leave a comment

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About Me!

Lover, father, global winemaking consultant, winemaker/exporter, hobby farmer, author and modern-day nomad...

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