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Wednesday 6 July 2022

Talented women driving Thai wine success

Guest blogger Rod Eime hits the vineyards of Thailand. 

The Thai wine industry may not be about to kick France or Australia off their perches, but it definitely is making inroads.

On a recent visit to Thailand, I was fortunate to stay at the Lohitnavy family’s superb winery resort, GranMonte, in the lush Asoke Valley, about two hours by road north-east from Bangkok and on the verge of the Khao Yai National Park.

The 30-hectare property was established 20 years ago and began with a few modest plantings of chenin bland and shiraz. It now grows grenache, durif, cabernet sayvignon, malbec and even mataro in the reds and has added viognier, verdelho and semillon to its range of whites.

Patriarch Visooth Lohitnavy, a champion of the local tourist industry, installed his talented daughters, Nikki and Mimi, into critical positions of winemaker and marketing manager. 

To ensure their success, both were educated in Australia to tertiary level, with Nikki achieving her Bachelor of Viticulture and Oenology at Adelaide University’s prestigious Waite Campus at Urrbrae. 

The resort comprises a small, but excellent restaurant under the guiding hand of the women’s mother, Sakuna, as well as seven twin rooms amid the vineyards. A retail centre and tasting room are also part of the complex.

Pruning is done twice a year and harvesting at night (RE)

Currently, the GranMonte team are working against an internal revenue system that does not favour small producers, but notwithstanding the boutique winery produces 90,000 bottles annually and is looking to double that output with new plantings nearby. 

The winery has also secured several lucrative contracts to supply private label wines to several major hotels in Thailand. 

With its handy proximity to the UNESCO World Heritage park, GranMonte provides a perfect weekend getaway for those wishing to escape the crush of Bangkok and enjoy nature, fresh air and superb wine.

The writer wishes to thank the Tourism Authority of Thailand for their assistance in making this story possible.

Main photo: Bangkok Post

READ MORE: Granmonte Vineyard’s Australian connection

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