Vineyards? In our climate? You’d think we were pulling your leg. Yet, New Latitude wines are increasingly becoming a thing, especially with more liberal wine aficionados opening up their palates to the interesting notes these wine produce.
To get a taste of New Latitude wines directly from the source, you’ll have to head to these vineyards in Southeast Asia. Some of these vineyards even produce award-winning wines that can challenge the likes of Old World wines.
Make it part of your holiday out of the country, but you wouldn’t want to be travelling too far once borders reopen. Wine, dine, and learn more about the cultivation of grapes in this part of the world when you head to these vineyards – it’s going to be an amazing experience nonetheless.
Hatten Wines in Bali, Indonesia
Most people head to Bali for the beach, but not many know that the northeast part of Bali is home to a grape-growing area. Hatten Wines found its home there since 1994, with a vineyard spreading out over 34 hectares. Its grapes are one of the best, thanks to an abundance of spring water, nutrient-rich soil, and the sun.
One of its popular wines is a rose, and the winery even earned Winery of the Year 2017 by Asian Wine Review. Head over to the vineyard’s cellar door for a spot of wine tasting, or make a reservation at the private dining room to try a spot of wine pairing with dinner.
Among the wines and spirits produced by Hatten Wines include Hatten Wines with grapes grown locally; Two Islands made from South Australian frozen grapes and vinified in Bali; Dragonfly Moscato made from imported Australian grapes; and Dewi Sri traditional Asian alcohols comprising arak and Brem, a type of Balinese rice wine.
Silverlake Vineyard in Pattaya, Thailand
Another spot that’s known for its touristy beaches but has a well-kept vineyard is Pattaya. Just a short drive out of the main Pattaya city area is Silverlake Vineyard, which was established in 2002. With a large location – over 182 hectares – the area resembles a little European playground thanks to the iconic windmill and flower garden.
Table grapes and wine are produced here, so expect to bring home bottles of grape juice and wine. For a small fee, you can get a guided tour of the vineyard and grapes juicing process – pay a little more and you’ll get an additional tour of the winery with a tasting experience.
If you’re feeling peckish after, head on over to Silverlake Wine & Grill Restaurant and Pizza Cafe for a spot of pizza and wine – a delicious pairing if you ask us. Silverlake also has accommodation on the grounds in the form of cottages, should you like to stay the night.
Monsoon Valley Vineyards in Hua Hin, Thailand
Elephants and grapes coexist in harmony at the Monsoon Valley Vineyard in Baan Khork Chang, 35km away from the Hua Hin beach. The area was once an elephant corral where wild Asian elephants were domesticated. Today, the elephants still roam the vineyard and are considered part of the grape cultivation process.
Thanks to its close proximity to the beach as well, the grapes from Monsoon Valley Vineyard will have an interesting terroir of cool breeze in the nights and sandy, loamy soil enriched with the minerality of shells and fossils.
Here you’ll find your usual winery tours and tasting sessions, but make time to also try out the onsite restaurant, The Sala Wine Bar & Bistro. It boasts an excellent European-style cuisine with a medley of Thai dishes, paired with wines from the vineyard, no less.
Monsoon Valley Vineyard also offers other non-wine-related activities such as mountain biking and a wine safari that will bring you through the vineyards and into Kuiburi National Park for a spot of wildlife watching.
GranMonte in Khao Yai, Thailand
Khao Yai has long been a popular spot in Thailand to cultivate grapes thanks to its cool microclimate as a result of its proximity to the Khao Yai National Park. GranMonte is perhaps the most iconic one, just about a three-hour drive from Bangkok. Before growing grapes, the vineyard was growing other sorts of produce like corn and cashew nuts – we’re glad they decided to switch to making wine instead. February is when the vineyard starts harvesting its grapes, but the best time to visit is between May and October to see the vines fruiting.
Once you’re done with the wine tasting and vineyard tour, head on over to VinCotto, the onsite restaurant for a five-course meal with wine pairings.
Aythaya Vineyard in Inle Lake, Myanmar
Did you know that Aythaya Vineyard is Myanmar’s first vineyard? Established in 1999, its location on the high climes of Inle Lake make for some pretty unique wines. Unlike the other vineyards that also produce different types of vegetation, Aythaya Vineyard only focuses on growing noble grape varieties for its wine. It’s a good move, resulting in the vineyard’s signature wines including the Aythaya Red, Aythaya Rose, and Aythaya White.
For a romantic time with your partner, book yourself a room at the gorgeous Monte Divino Lodge, or have dinner at sundown at the property’s Sunset Wine Garden that serves up European cuisine.
This article first appeared in Lifestyle Asia Malaysia.
(Main and featured image: Tim Mossholder/Unsplash)