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Monday, 20th June 2016

Wine tasting in Burma

Wine tasting may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you’re planning your trip to Burma, but it is possible. Further to this, it’s actually great fun and the wine is pretty decent too. It’s safe to say there aren’t a huge number of vineyards to choose from, but the ones that have been set up have gained a good reputation for themselves.

There are two wine estates that you can visit and they have the added bonus of being up in the mountains not far from Inle Lake. Such a stunning location only adds to the reasons why you should include the Aythaya winery or Red Mountain vineyard in your Burma itinerary.

Aythaya was founded in 1999 and was a trailblazer in wine production in this country, which is once again finding its feet with the tourist industry. Red Mountain followed in 2002 and these two estates could lead to more in the future.

For now, they are sufficient and provide a fascinating insight into growing wine in the tropics. The reasons why it is a less well-established practice than in parts of Europe, the US, Australia and the likes of Chile or Argentina is a lot to do with the climate.

Hot, humid conditions can lead to the grapes being burnt or developing unwanted diseases. This, coupled with the threat of damage to the vines from monsoon rains, means that wine producing in Burma could be a risky business.

That’s why the Dawna Mountain Range has been selected as the perfect spot to grow grapes for winemaking. At an altitude of 3,940 feet, the climate is much cooler and more suited for the purpose. Here, there is a longer growing season before the monsoon sets in, compared to other parts of Burma.

If you’re wondering why you’ve never seen Burmese wines for sale at home, then the simple reason is that these two wineries create only a small amount of the beverage. This means it’s only sold in Burma and there’s no better place to try it than at the estates themselves.

After a spectacular drive up winding roads into the mountains and a tour of the vineyards, wine tasting is definitely in order. At Aythaya, you can enjoy a glass or two at the onsite restaurant, which offers spectacular views of the sun setting behind the mountains.

The grape varieties here have been specially selected from all over the world to thrive in these conditions. They include Dornfelder grapes from Germany and Tempranillo grapes from the Rioja Valley in Spain, which make for delicious wines.

If you have chosen to take a tour of the Red Mountain estate then be sure to indulge in some locally produced food too. Pairing this with the wine will give you a distinct taste of Burma, as you take in the views of the Inle Valley.