Top 5 wine destinations in Asia

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When one thinks of fine wine, the mind often wanders to the picturesque vineyards of France or the sun-kissed valleys of California. However, in recent years, Asia has quietly been fermenting its reputation as a top destination for oenophiles seeking new experiences and flavors. According to a 2020 Forbes report, China was the tenth-largest wine-producing country globally in that year.

Japan also shines brightly in the Asian wine landscape, thanks to its native koshu grape, celebrated for its crisp and aromatic flavor profile. Southeast Asian nations have also joined the wine-making scene with fervor. Regions like Khao Yai in Thailand, Dalat in Vietnam, and Bali in Indonesia have harnessed their unique climates and native soil compositions to cultivate grapes ideal for crafting New Latitude wines.

These light-bodied and more acidic wines showcase the region’s commitment to exploring and innovating within the global wine market, marking Asia as an exciting frontier for oenophiles and vintners alike. Here are the best wine destinations in Asia;

Shangri-La County, China

best wine destinations in Asia

Tucked away amidst the misty Himalayas, Shangri-La County has quietly established itself as a rising star in the world of winemaking. This picturesque region has some of the highest vineyards globally, with elevations reaching up to 2,600m above sea level. The cool climate and abundant sunshine create an ideal environment for cultivating grapes that thrive in long ripening periods, such as the revered cabernet sauvignon.

At the forefront of this burgeoning industry is Ao Yun, a prestigious brand under Moet Hennessy. Their vineyard, spanning 30 hectares and nestled in the villages surrounding the majestic Meili Mountains, produces a limited cuvée crafted from cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc.

Shan State, Myanmar

best wine destinations in Asia

In the mist-shrouded hills of Shan State, Myanmar, a quiet revolution is taking place in the world of winemaking. Here, amidst the rugged terrain and lush greenery, innovative vintners are harnessing the region’s unique microclimate and soil composition to produce distinctive wines.

Despite being a relatively young player in the global wine scene, winemakers in Shan State are rapidly gaining recognition for their dedication to quality and experimentation. Aythaya Vineyard is a pioneering testament to the art of winemaking in the region and Southeast Asia. Established in 1999 by Bert Morsbach and his visionary friends, this vineyard marked the birth of Western-style wine production in the country.

Located just a 30-minute drive from the serene waters of Inle Lake, the vineyard offers a picturesque setting reminiscent of Italy’s Tuscany at sunset. While here, you can embark on guided tours to witness the craft of winemaking, followed by indulging in authentic local dishes at the Sunset WineGarden Restaurant or the Pavilion, where European cuisine complements the vineyard’s offerings.

Aythaya Vineyard isn’t just a destination for wine enthusiasts; it’s a sanctuary of sensory delights and unforgettable experiences in the heart of Myanmar’s enchanting landscape.

Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan

best wine destinations in Asia

With a rich history rooted in orchard fruit cultivation, Yamanashi has seamlessly transitioned into Japan’s premier wine-growing hub. Today, the region is home to 80 dedicated winemakers renowned for their meticulous craftsmanship. Among the varietals that thrive in this terroir are the delicate Koshu and the robust Muscat Bailey-A.

Leading the pack is Château Mercian, acclaimed as the epitome of excellence in winemaking. This prestigious winemaker offers an internationally esteemed collection of super premium wines crafted from Koshu, Muscat Bailey-A, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Asoke Valley, Thailand

best wine destinations in Asia

In the heart of Thailand’s lush countryside lies the enchanting Asoke Valley, where a growing number of wineries are crafting exquisite wines amidst the tropical landscape. Embracing the region’s unique terroir and microclimate, winemakers in Asoke Valley are pioneering techniques to cultivate grapes suited to the tropical climate.

At GranMonte, the art of winemaking intertwines with a rich history. What once was a humble cornfield and cashew plantation has transformed into a renowned 12-hectare estate, thanks to the vision of Visooth Lohitnavy.

Driven by his passion for viticulture, Lohitnavy meticulously studied the intricacies of vines and soil, eventually founding the winery in 1999. Situated 350 meters above sea level, GranMonte benefits from the unique terroir of the region, located approximately 160 kilometers from Bangkok.

Since its establishment in 2009, the winery has garnered acclaim for its diverse array of wines, including Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chenin Blanc, Viognier, Semillon, Verdelho, Durif, and Grenache. Embracing innovative winemaking techniques, GranMonte crafts each bottle with ingredients grown on-site, resulting in exquisite flavors and aromas that capture the essence of the Thai countryside.

Bali, Indonesia

best wine destinations in Asia

After nearly two decades of experimentation, Bali’s winemakers have defied expectations by harnessing the potential of indigenous grape varietals like Belgia for white wines, Probolinggo Biru for sparkling varieties, and the table grape Alphonse-Lavallee for reds.

Most of the premium vineyards dot the northern end of the island, benefiting from drier and cooler conditions that foster optimal grape ripening with minimal disease challenges. Hatten Wines is a stand-out in the region, having dedicated itself over the past two decades to crafting exceptional Bali wines.

Their acclaimed offerings, such as the fortified Pino di Bali and the sparkling sensation Tunjung, have consistently earned international accolades. Recently, Hatten Wines has further elevated the wine-tasting experience with the unveiling of its state-of-the-art Cellardoor facility, where guests can partake in wine classes and indulge in gourmet meals.

Enjoy Asia’s finest wine with these destinations

While Asia may not have the same historical pedigree as its Western counterparts, it more than makes up for it with its burgeoning wine scene, diverse terroirs, and warm hospitality. From the terraced hillsides of China to the vineyards of Myanmar, Asia’s wine destinations offer a tantalizing blend of tradition, innovation, and natural beauty. So, whether you’re a seasoned wine enthusiast or a curious traveler looking to expand your palate, be sure to raise a glass to Asia’s vibrant and burgeoning wine culture.

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