Thailand is known for many things, wonderful beaches, great sightseeing, fantastic nightlife and smiling happy people! But did you know, it also produces some of the world’s finest table wines, which have both been recognised and exported around the world. This week we focus on one particular wine producer, Chateau De Loei, which is located in the stunning beautiful North Eastern province of the same name, Loei, near to the border with Laos.
Loei is a part of the country which is very different from most other parts of Thailand. Phu Ruea National Park has one of the highest peaks in the country and because of its height, the temperatures and the cooler climate of the area; conditions are very conducive to the cultivating and producing of fruits, vegetables and flowers, not normally found in this part of the world.
In fact, throughout Loei and in other neighbouring provinces, there are many attractions that can be visited to see this unique produce which includes strawberries, chinese pears, African Violets, Petunias and of course the vital ingredient for wine making is of course grapes, which grow here in abundance.
Loei has been described by some as a small piece of Southern France, in the heart of Asia, and this is certainly true for the Chateau de Loei, who have been producing fine Thai table wines since 1995.
Dr Chaijudh Karnasuta the founder of Chateau De Loei discovered that the Phuruea highlands were ideal for wine producing grapes and in 1995 bottled Thailand’s first commercially produced Thai Table wine.
His wine succeeded and his wine became the first from the country to be exported to Japan and Europe. Even the vineyards logo is named after the Chinese year in which Dr Chaijudh was born, The year of the ‘Rooster’ which in Chinese signifies ‘hard work and dedication’ and this has certainly been the case with Chateau De Loei.
The whole wine producing process takes place at the Vineyard, and tours are arranged for people to visit, see and taste the produce and even buy some to take away and enjoy. The fine Chenin Blanc and Syrah grapes are grown here and using French bottling equipment, the wine is produced and bottled, for local and export markets.
Credit for Chateau De Loei’s product success is partly given to the research undertaken by His Majesty the King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who found that the Phuruea climate, soil and water supply are ideal for the ‘best grape harvest’ that takes place in February and produces the best quality grapes for wine producing at that time.
The fine wines that are produced are fruit based wines, suiting different culinary experiences, Chateau De Loei produces three types of white (Chenin Blanc) and, two reds (Syrah) and one rose (Syrah) all with very distinct flavours and tastes suiting each individuals palette.
Initially designed for the domestic market and now a success Internationally, Chateau De Loei’s wines have added to Thailand’s reputation as a fine nation and an innovator, surprising people worldwide, with the quality of wine produce made.
So next time you make a visit to the Land of Smiles, or your even shopping for a bottle or two to take home for the evening, think of Chateau De Loei and either visit for yourself, or try a taste of this beautifully, scenic part of the world.