After our unbelievably brief stay in PB Winery, it was only a short drive to Gran Monte vineyards. This was our last stop.

This beautiful vineyard seems to have older vines. I loved the hanging vines with the grapes growing on them, it was beautiful. Before we could stop to take pictures, we were quickly ushered into the function room beside their vineyard shop to meet the owners. This place looks like a lot of wine tastings went on in it. There was an area where the speaker can talk, a big LCD screen to watch the video in, and their products proudly displayed on the shelves. Mr. Visooth Lohitnavy made his introduction and let us watch a beautiful “advertorial” type documentary on the LCD. This looked liked a bunch of movie makers from National Geographic made the video. I was impressed.

What is specially gripping about this vineyard is the fact that they kept stressing that it was a family vineyard, and they wanted people who visit their vineyard feel like they were part of the family. The video featured Nikki Lohitnavy, who is Mr. Visooth’s daughter, he is proud to say that she is the only Oenologist in Thailand, who studied in Australia. It was no surprise to see all these little trinkets on the fields that actually measured air and soil humidity and conditions, knowing that Nikki had brought all of her Australian education into the vineyard.

A short tram ride along the vineyards showed us the beautiful view of the Lohitnavy’s farm. We went into the wine making area which had only been built a year ago, where Nikki seemed to be busy preparing to meet and explain the wine to the guests. This was a treat, since she was so fluent in English, she got to explain everything about how they made wine in Gran Monte quickly. Another treat was the fact that she was very proud to share her wines and gave us the “unfiltered” experience in the winery. She brought out some wines that came straight from the steel tanks, which haven’t exactly finished their fermentation processes yet, but can give everyone an even greater idea about the hows and whys of this industry. Her mother came into the room, and also Nikki’s sister, now the entire family was entertaining us guests and showing us around. This really made us feel special. The unfiltered wines were especially exciting, since they tasted very good even before getting barreled. My dad and the rest of the folks squabbled for the last red wine she brought out from the vats and asked if it was going to be available soon, since it had a lot of promise even before it got into the barrel. And it tasted quite Australian though, still with a lot of that strawberry flavor.

Then we were back into the tasting room where we began to sample their wines. Unlike village farm, they¬† were a vineyard that entered their wines in a lot of competitions. The best of which, fitting to where it won (Japan), is the Sakuna Rose 2009. This was fantastic, unlike the other Rose’s from the 2 vineyards, this had the aroma of pulled sugar and cotton candy. It was like it was made of the stuff! Though the finish was again, not long-lasting, this among all their wines was the best one for me. It was too bad that they didn’t have stocks of it anymore.

We also tasted a 2006 Shiraz that reminded me of salami. Yes, salami. Why do I say so? Because when I smelled it, I remembered a salami.

I’m no formal wine connoisseur¬† but coming from my wine trips, I’ve gotten to give some good opinions about wine, bouquet, finish and all that blah. But as I told one of our students is that, ultimately, whatever it is, if you like it, then that’s alright. Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to wine. No one can ever tell you what to like and not like.

Enjoy these pictures!

Alas, there was a simple dinner on top of a small river pier. And we were awarded as honorary members of the Khao Yai Wine Association. A beautiful finish to a great and educational tour.

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