Fest launches a vintage year

  • Published: 25/02/2011 at 12:00 AM

  • Newspaper section: Life

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    One of Thailand's much talked about harvest festivals, "Pick of the Season 2011" was held at GranMonte Vineyard and Winery in Khao Yai, Nakhon Ratchasima, early this month. The annual event was hosted by the Lohitnavy family led by owner and CEO Visooth, his wife Sakuna and their daughter, Nikki-Visootha, Thailand's first female winemaker.

    The harvest festival starts with a tour of GranMonte vineyard in the morning.

    The event started off with a tour of the vineyard and winery led by Nikki in which guests were introduced to a wide range of grape varietals grown at GranMonte _ syrah and chenin blanc as well as the new and interesting cabernet sauvignon, viognier and verdelho.

    Winemaker Nikki also explained the process of making white, red and rose wines to interested guests. It was followed by new vintage wine tasting of GranMonte 2010 Viognier, Heritage 2010 Syrah Viognier, Rose 2010 Syrah and the new sparkling wines.

    During the dinner party with live jazz music at VinCotto restaurant, Nikki also introduced the new release GranMonte 2009 The Orient Reserve Magnum red wine to the gathering.

    "The Orient Reserve Syrah is in fact the same blend as The Orient Syrah but with 18 months in both new French and American barrels, and is definitely a big bold syrah," said Nikki.

    "It is bottled in a magnum format to enable the wine to be bottle-aged for a longer time and to better retain fruitiness and finesse after a long ageing period. It is ideal for special occasions, matched with hearty meat dishes and cheeses. The wine will be available mid 2011," she said.

    This year's harvest competition was done with time allowance of 45 minutes and one pair of scissors per team. This year's winner was Team Baan Kanitha with a total weight of 83.9 kilogrammes of grapes picked. Winners were presented with prizes which included GranMonte 2009

    The Orient Reserve Magnum and Chateau Angelus magnum and more.

    "At GranMonte, we pride ourselves on the use of sustainable farming techniques to preserve the environmental surroundings," said Visooth.

    "Our yearly production depends on yields from our vineyard, as we only use grapes from our estate grown vines. In the past our wine production on average was around 60,000 bottles a year.

    "But for the 2010 vintage, the production went up to 70,000 bottles due to higher yields from vines getting older.

    "Last year we received a total of 30 awards from eight international and one local wine competitions, plus the award for Outstanding Performance in the Agro-Tourism category from the Tourism Authority of Thailand's 8th Thailand Tourism Awards," he said.

    GranMonte Vineyard and Winery is located some 160 kilometres from Bangkok at the northwestern edge of the famous Khao Yai National Park.