Tour the vineyard but save room for delicious food and wine pairings
Built on a former elephant corral, the Monsoon Valley Vineyard (formerly Hua Hin Hills) sits roughly 150 metres above sea level, protected from some of the harsher extremes of the Thai weather. The soil type mixes sandy loam with slate, making it perfect for planting grape varietals such as Chenin Blanc, Shiraz, Sangiovese, Muscat, Dornfelder, and Colombard. This geographical region is on the 13th latitude, which classifies the vineyard’s output as ‘New Latitude’ wine—a combination of the New and the Old World, accentuated with an exotic touch. In fact, renowned wine critic Robert Parker once remarked that the 2008 Monsoon Valley Columbard “had a resemblance to the wonderful Colombard that used to be made in Napa Valley by the owners of Chalone”.
The first planting dates back to December 2004, and the area used for cultivation has increased year by year. And since 2007 German-born winemaker Kathrin Puff has been overseeing the production of Monsoon Valley brand wines. Kathrin is assisted in her role as lead wine maker by Suppached Sasomsin a Thai native who studied viticulture and wine making at the Ecole Supérieur d’Agriculture D’Anger (France), Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (Italy) and Universidad Politécnica de Valencia (Spain).
Visiting Monsoon Valley makes for a wonderful daytime excursion—it’s about 45 km west of downtown Hua Hin—and the vineyard can be explored by jeep (four tours per day, B100 per person), by mountain bike (30 minutes for B100, or B150 for an hour), or on the back of an elephant (B300 for 15 minutes, or B500 for a half-hour). But tour or no tour, it’s worth the trip just to experience the fabulous food and extraordinary views on offer at the Sala Bar & Bistro, where an elevated, outdoor, wraparound terrace overlooks the broad expanse of mountain and valley. There’s lots to choose from on the menu, but indulging in one of the expertly curated food and wine paired tasting sets is a wise move. There are four such tasting sets to choose from, ranging in price from B240++ for the Sweet Wine Tasting Set, to B1,050++ for the Grand Tasting Set.
By Bruce Scott
Monsoon Valley Vineyard
1, Moo 9, Baan Khork Chang Patana
Tel: 081 701 0222
Open daily: 9am-8pm