2021 shaping up to be an exceptional harvest in Thailand
The 2021 harvest at Thailand’s Monsoon Valley vineyard has produced some of its best quality grapes to date, according to estate director Christopher Carter.
Founded in 2001, Monsoon Valley was formerly known as the Hua Hin Hills Vineyard and built on a elephant corral.
”We started in 2001, with the vision of creating world-class wines right here in Thailand. After 20 years of dedication, experimentation and passion at our vineyard in Hua Hin, we’ve made great strides towards this goal.
“From humble beginnings, we today output a yield of 300 tonnes of grapes producing over 300,000 bottles of award winning wine per year, 70% of which is sold domestically and 30% exported to international markets. Now with the exceptional 2021 harvest, we are excited to build on this with the next vintage,” said Christopher Carter, chief operating officer of the winery.
The winery referred to Hans-Peter Hoehnen, the German winemaker and oenologist who specialised in tropical viticulture with 25 years of winemaking experience, that “growing grapes in a hot and humid tropical climate presents many unique challenges, such as year-round intense heat polarised by wet and dry seasons which gives two vegetative seasons.
In addition, the heavy monsoon rain and immense moisture makes the vines susceptible to disease with limited hours of daylight being so close to the equator. “
Because of this, Monsoon Valley takes extensive care and preparation over vineyard management in order for the grapes to thrive. Yet despite all these challenges, the 2021 harvest season has finally produced some of the best quality grapes to date.
On top of that, the longer dry and cool December and January allowed the grapes to steadily develop the flavours and sugar level, resulting in a great balance of flavour, acidity, and potential alcohol level.
Suppached Sasomsin, winemaker at Siam Winery Company Limited, added, “as a Winemaker I am very excited about this year’s vintage. Not only was it a bountiful harvest, the high quality allows me to use conventional winemaking techniques to express the terroir. This year’s grapes are incredibly balanced and with over 30 varietals bearing fruit, I’m really looking forward to creating wines with unique character.”
Located at a pristine valley 35km away from sunny Hua Hin beach, the winery nestled in the west coast of Thailand. The total area planted in Hua Hin is 110 hectares, with 140-210 meters above sea level. The plantation size made Monsoon Valley the largest vineyard in Thailand.
Being close to the sea, the nights tend to be cooler with fresh breeze coming from the hills. The sandy and loamy soil is enriched by shells and fossils giving minerality and freshness to the wines. These elements together formulate the seductive personality signifying Monsoon Valley wines.
The terroir is ideal for growing various grape varietals, such as Colombard and Chenin Blanc, Sangiovese, Rondo and Shiraz are proved to thrive here. Muscat, Dornfelder, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc are also planted afterwards. It made the plantation portfolio being diversified with over 30 varietals.
The first harvest of Monsoon Valley Vineyard was 2006 when they created The Monsoon Valley Bin 9 Royal Reserve, a Shiraz created to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Thai King’s Accession. After making its name out for Shiraz, Sangiovese, Chenin Blanc and Colombard varietals, vintage 2020 benchmarked a new milestone of Monsoon Valley with the success of Merlot harvest, which have historically been very challenging to grow in Thailand.
Having been experimenting with growing Merlot grapes for almost 10 years, and the plants have matured nicely, producing consistently well-balanced fruits over the past 3 to4 seasons. They look forward to becoming Thailand’s first and finest winery in releasing locally grown Merlot.
Their harvest season is usually from February to March. Annually, Monsoon Valley Vineyard can produce 300 tons of grapes, over 300,000 bottles. 30% of the annual production is exported overseas, including England, Germany, Switzerland, Japan, and Australia. 70% are consumed domestically.