Not much wine in Paradise


Thailand is famous for its coconut laden palm trees sheltering white sandy beaches, crystal-clear, turquoise waters, as well as its dense jungle filled with wild elephants and spicy food.


During my recent trip to Thailand I was not disappointed. Sipping an ice cold beer has never been so refreshing since it barely fell below 30 degrees the entire time we were there. We spent quite a bit of time in Bangkok, headed north to the golden triangle and then into Laos, ending with a friend’s wedding on the beach in Koh Samui. A month is simply not enough to explore this wonderful country.

One thing I did miss however was a good glass of wine. Thai people simply don’t drink wine and even ex-pats rarely enjoy a glass. Wine is extremely expensive in Thailand thanks to a 200% tax on all wines. Even a glass of Thai wine is over five times the price of a bottle of beer and twice that of an exotic cocktail!

Despite this I did try some Thai wine while I was staying at the Legend Hotel in Chiang Rai, a beautiful boutique hotel on the banks of the Mekong River.

Monsoon Valley is arguably the most famous range of Thai wines, produced by Siam winery. The grapes are grown on floating vineyards in the Chao Phraya Delta to the south-west of Bangkok. Traditional grape varieties such as Pok Dum and Malaga Blanc are grown with international varieties, such as Colombard and Shiraz, grown up into the hills.

The wine I tried was the Monsoon Valley Blended White 2007. I was actually pleasantly surprised. Although quite a simple wine, it was a good match with the spicy food: aromatic, light and fruity with notes of citrus and melon. After two weeks without any wine the glass soon disappeared!