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LEXICON

 

 

winery

The first Thai vines were planted at Château de Loei (fig.) in 1991 and its first commercial harvest was in 1995. At first it was believed that wine could only be produced between 30th and 50th degrees latitude North and South, but many countries outside this range have presented wines of high quality, known as new latitude wines. Since the first Thai grape wine was launched in Loei, several wineries have sprung up in other regions of the country and currently there are three main wine-producing regions, namely: the Northern Region of 17°-18° northern latitude, with clay loam soil and daytime temperatures of 20° to 25° Celsius, dropping to 12° Celsius at night during harvest; the Khao Yai Wine Region at 14.3° northern latitude, also with a clay loam soil and morning temperatures of 15°-20° Celsius during harvest; the Chao Phraya Delta Region, currently the most southerly wine region at 14° northern latitude and with daytime temperatures between 18°-22° Celsius. Because of the subtropical climate there are two harvest periods, namely July-August and February-March, and there are both red and white wines, all in line with international standards. The most prominent wineries at present include Château de Loei in Loei province, Mae Chan Valley in Chiang Rai, Château de Shala One (Chalawan) in Phichit, PB Valley, GranMonte and Château des Brumes in Nakhon Ratchasima, and Siam Winery in Samut Sakon. The Thai wine industry now employs some 1,200 people and annual production is close to one million bottles. In 2004 leading wine producers founded the Thai Wine Association to create awareness and enhance the image of Thai wines, as well as to educate the public about the health benefits associated with moderate wine drinking, such as the prevention of heart diseases and high blood pressure. In Thai, called rohng tham lao a-ngun, rohng tham wine a-ngun, rohng glan wine a-ngun or rohng glan lao a-ngun. Besides wine grapes, the region also produces various other kinds of grapes (fig.). In neighbouring countries, regions with well-known vineyards and wineries are Dalat, Phu Quoc Island and Ninh Thuan in Vietnam, and Myanmar's Red Mountain Estate (fig.) near Inle Lake (fig.). See also ih-kooy.