For those who are mainly experienced with Western wines, you might not think that Thailand is necessarily a wine-tasting destination. As far as many people know, the climate conditions that allow delicious wine to be harvested mainly occur in the West and originate in countries such as France, Germany, and Italy.
However, this could not be more incorrect, as there are a handful of wonderful wineries and traditions tracing back hundreds of years all over the East.
A phenomenon that is getting the attention of many people is the sudden interest in New Latitude Wines. New Latitude Wines (a term coined by Frank Norel) are types of wine grown and harvested at non-traditional latitudes, typically as the result of being harvested high up mountains or in other places where it was once believed harvesting wine was not possible.
What are New Latitude Wines?
How does this compare to other types of wine? Well, traditional wines are typically made from a latitude between 30 and 50. For a country like Thailand, this is not the case, meaning that the wines produced in the region are inherently different. The factors that often influence how different a wine tastes can range from harvesting method to where and how the grapes are processed, but arguably the most important factor is the climate in which the grapes are grown and harvested.
Instead of utilising traditional methods, wineries in Thailand will experiment with technology as a means of innovating the wine making process. Advanced refrigeration and irrigation techniques are the centre of this innovation, allowing people to begin growing wine in places previously thought to be not suitable for the harvest.
Part of the interest in experimental types of wine is because of their potential to unlock flavors not currently known to wine connoisseurs. For example, many people who are experienced with wine tasting are also wine historians. Knowing the speciality or history of a region allows one to contextualise the taste and creation of a wine within the culture, something that isn’t as easily accessible through the tastes provided in New Latitude Wines.
As a result, there is a sense of the unknown that makes New Latitude Wines have so much promise. Because there isn’t much of a precedent for their history, it is possible to create the future and find out what is possible. Tasting each of these unique wines can be an adventure into the unknown, something that has been enticing wine tasters and creating a large tourist market for the practice.
Where Can I Taste New Latitude Wines?
There are many locations in which you can find New Latitude Wines for wine tasting, but one of the best places by far to do so is Hua Hin, Thailand. Known also as the Hua Hin District, this area is part of the Malay Peninsula. Located in the north part of the Prachuap Khiri Khan Province, Hua Hin is a wonderful place to visit if you’re looking to get a true taste of Thailand. You can also find New Latitude Wines in places such as Brazil that share similarly tropical climates, but Hua Hin is known as the epicentre of this new wine, making it easier than ever to go directly to a location specifically for tasting some of the most innovative wine being harvested.
Not only that, but there are an impressive amount of New Latitude Wineries to try around the area. Since this region in Thailand is known for new, experimental methods of making wine, you can always find something easily available that’s just as engaging as it is relaxing. And, when combined with the lovely weather of its tropical savanna climate, you can have a wonderful day of wine tasting and sunny beach time without any hassle in-between!
The best way to see the unique wines in Hua Hin is by visiting the Hua Hin Hills Vineyard which offers an impressive amount of varieties for visitors to stay entranced and interested in some new tastes and smells. It is also surrounded by a wonderful location that gives you a view of the area and lets you enjoy the tropical atmosphere.
Like many wineries in Thailand, the history of the wine begins at the turn of the 21st century: after it was ensured that the ground was safe to work on, vines were planted and continued to grow over the next 10 years until it became the massive vineyard known today.
One of the particularly interesting things about the Hua Hin Hills Vineyard is the location, which offers not only a great way to get some sun and taste wine, but also a “Mediterranean-like breeze” up the hill that helps balance out the sometimes overwhelming heat of Thailand. It can also be a way to get a nice refreshing breeze through your hair, a great way to cool off after a great wine tasting or drive up to the vineyard.
Wine Tasting at Hua Hin Hills Vineyard
For those who decide to embark on a wine tasting journey at the Hua Hin Hills Vineyard, you’ll be greeted with a menu of different Wine Tasting Sets for you to choose from. Within this list you can find many different types of tasting sets, including Sweet Wines, Premium Wine, Flagship, and the Grand Tasting Set that gives you the best of all 3 worlds. All of the wines are the products of the local winemaker Siam Winery’s, meaning that you’ll get not only the highest quality wine you can find in the region, but also wine that has a trustworthy history with the community.
With each of these sets also comes the option to pair it with tapas, an option that surely allows you to take your time with your wine tasting and get the most out of the experience. Each tasting you get is approximately 75ml, giving you plenty of wine for you and/or your friends to try during your visit!
The tapas that are also served alongside the wine provide you with a wonderful experience to contrast the tasting. Parts of the menu include Chilled Crab Meat and Apple Timbale, Foie Gras Terrine, and Lobster and Frozen Red Curry, among many others. One of the absolute highlights and fan favorites is the Cocoa Lamb Chop, which is typically paired in the Grand Tasting Set with a Monsoon Valley Cuvee de Siam Rouge wine. Though one of the highlights, it is only an indication of the other 6 tapas and wine tastings that await you with the Grand Testing Set.
The wines themselves are truly wonderful, with standouts being the Monsoon Valley Brut Blanc de Blanc, the Shiraz, and the White Shiraz.
The restaurant in which the wine tasting happens is called the Sala and is constructed beautifully. The open-air design allows you to get a great view of the area surrounding the vineyard, letting you have the full experience.
The staff also largely speak English, so there is no language barrier for those who don’t speak Thai. The wait staff are also incredibly friendly, though, so if you’re looking to practice your Thai but want a friendly environment in which to do so, they are more than happy to help you along your way!
For those who simply want to see the premises and grab a bite without tasting the wine, the restaurant also has a great a la carte menu that has a variety of options to try. Even if the tapas available with the wine tasting aren’t necessarily your preference, the sandwiches and pastas are particularly good bets for a great meal. For kids, the a la carte options also provide a wonderful way to satisfy even the most picky of eaters while keeping the adults pleased as well!
Exploring the vineyard goes well beyond the wine tasting sessions, though–you can also tour the vineyard on your own and see how the wine is made. These private tours typically take place in the comfort of a vintage jeep and the guides are incredibly informative on the grapes grown and the harvesting process. For those who aren’t familiar with wine harvesting in general, let alone in this unique region, it is a must-do when visiting the vineyard.
If you want to do something more adventurous, it’s even be possible to tour the vineyard on top of an elephant! This is a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience that must be seen to be believed. And, when in Thailand, why wouldn’t you?
The elephants that you can travel around the vineyard on are from a place in nature and raised away from the crowded city. There is no opportunity to play with the elephants, but simply riding an elephant around a vineyard is a luxurious and entrancing opportunity on its own. For those of you who have children or may want to get in on the act of caring for the elephants yourself, you’re also able to feed the elephants fresh fruits, such as bananas.
You can also enjoy some mountain biking around the premises, which is another way to enjoy the area thoroughly and explore before attending your wine tasting. The area surrounding the vineyard is also a sight to behold, having a wonderful scenery of foliage and views to take in while you’re there. Mountain bikes are also easily rented by the vineyard, making it easy for you to do multiple things in one trip without having to worry about bringing your own bike and then having to bring it back the 40 minutes back from the vineyard after a wine tasting.
How Do I Get To The Vineyard?
The vineyard is about 40 minutes away by car, meaning that you won’t be able to get there on foot. You can rent a taxi or stop a tuk tuk to give you service up to the top, but it should be noted that you won’t find taxis or tuk tuks at the top to bring you back down, so you would need assistance in finding one.
However, one of the best ways to see the Hua Hin Hills Vineyard is to book a package through an agency or hotel. Many of these packages will give you a good price on the experience, allowing you to combine many of the activities described above. The packages typically have starting times of twice a day, allowing you to have a flexible morning or afternoon time for your party.
For those staying at the Aleenta Hua Hin Beach Resort, you’ll be glad to find that the packages they offer make visiting the Hua Hin Hills Vineyard more accessible than ever. If you order their “Thai Wine & Vineyard Visit”, you can have the ease of being picked up directly at the resort (or near the Market Village) and brought to the vineyard for a morning or afternoon of delicious wine tasting, food, and exploration of the premises.
Aleenta also offers competitive rates, making sure that you are getting the best possible value for the price. Not only that, but the guides and drivers that Aleenta uses are kind, friendly, and hospitable, making you feel like less of a customer and more like an old friend being guided around unfamiliar territory.
Advanced booking is highly recommended, as the vineyard can be frequented by large crowds of guests, especially during the public holidays and peak seasons.
What better way to explore Thailand through the majesty of the Hua Hin Hills Vineyard, where you can taste delicious wine and experience a type of the country you may not see otherwise? Explore variety by booking your “Thai Wine & Vineyard Visit” today!
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Aleenta Hua Hin Resort & SPA
183 Moo 4, Pak Nam Pran,
Pranburi, Hua Hin,
T: +66 32-618-333