Skip to main content

The strange case of wine from Bhutan

My first thought was that reports vineyards are being planted in Himalayan mountain kingdom of Bhutan had to be an April Fool's joke. 

But the source was highly respected magazine Drinks Business and story was not dated April 1. 

It appears that over the past two weeks five small vineyards have been planted in Bhutan, covering a total of six acres. 

The project is the brainchild of American MW student Mike Juergens who first went to Bhutan to run a marathon and noticed that the conditions could be “ideal for wine”, with there being lots of south-facing slopes and iron-rich soils. 

He asked if there were any vines planted in the country and was told there were not.

Juergens laid out why he thought the country would suit viticulture and, once home, after some further research he wrote a white paper for the Government. 

For Juergens this represented a “glorious opportunity”. Living in California he explained there was always the possibility of planting his own vineyard. This, however, was something quite different; a country entirely devoid of viticultural heritage (or baggage) – which holds, Juergens believes, “ridiculous potential.” 

‘To be able to build not just a vineyard but a whole region,” he said. “It was way too good an adventure [to pass up].”

The initial plantings are merlot, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, shiraz, pinot noir, malbec, sauvignon blanc, chardonnay and petit manseng. 

The vineyards are located at various places around the country to take advantage of the various climates that Bhutan offers and see what works best where. 

As a mountain country, Bhutan offers a range of elevations - the highest vineyard that will be planted is at 2,700 metres above sea level. 

Bhutan is a carbon neutral country, known for its sustainable practices and on-track to being 100% organic. 

So, an interesting experiment in country that has a track record for making peach wines, and western-style spirits in two large distilleries. 

Strangely, though, there already two red wines that are promoted as "Product of Bhutan" - which are bottled at those distilleries using bulk wine brought in from neighbouring India. 

It seems as if Bhutan has a bit of work to do on its label integrity. 

In the meantime, we have to wait five years fro the first release - if there is one - of what Juergens plans to call Thunder Dragon. 


Popular posts from this blog

Best Hotels in Tokyo for Couples

The city of Tokyo is perched on the Japanese island of Honshu and is a beautiful clash of tradition and the futuristic. Exploring the wonders of this city is made all the more enjoyable with a hyper-efficient rail network connected the city’s 23 wards. The vast majority of Tokyo hotels are within a few minutes’ walk of a train station or two, meaning visitors to this city have less time to worry about how to get around and more time to enjoy themselves. The JR Yamanote train line boasts the city’s most popular areas.

Fast facts about Tokyo, Japan

Accommodations : 10,118 PropertiesPopular hotel : Hotel Sardonyx UenoPopular area : ShinjukuNightly rates from : $21Airport : Narita International AirportReasons to visit : Shopping, Sightseeing, Culture

Traveler impressions of Tokyo
Pros: - No haggling - Japanese are always straight to the point - They mind their own business - I personally thinks that Tokyo is a very safe place to visit - Clean - Easy to travel around with Bus / Public Transpor…

Hotel Sardonyx Ueno Reviews

If you really want to save some money and are just looking for a place to lay your head in the evenings, this newly renovated business hotel is a good choice. It’s a short walk south of JR Ueno and Keisei Ueno Stations, and very close to Ameya Yokocho Arcade.

Rooms are small but reasonably comfortable. There’s a restaurant where you can eat the breakfast that comes with your room rate. The staff tries hard to please. Everything is spiffy and new.

Due to the low prices, this hotel attracts bus groups and other budget tourists. Soundproofing could be better, so you may hear guests next door or in the hallway.

The main selling point here is the price: It’s among the cheapest decent hotels in Tokyo. So, if you don’t mind staying in Ueno and only want a place to sleep for a couple of nights, this is a good bet.

Profile About Hotel Sardonyx Ueno
Located in Ueno, Hotel Sardonyx Ueno is adjacent to Ameya-Yokochō and within a 10-minute walk of other popular attractions like Ueno Park. This 18…

Best Choice Tokyo Airport Transportation

Here I give you all the details on the best and cheapest ways to get from Narita or Haneda airports to Tokyo.

Best Choice Tokyo Airport Transport
The Takeaway

Tokyo is served by two airports: Narita International Airport (NRT) and Haneda Airport (HND). Both airports serve international flights.Haneda is closer and more convenient to Tokyo but has fewer international connections.The best way between Narita and Tokyo is the JR Narita Express or N'Ex (Y3,020, 65 minutes). You can use a Japan Rail Pass to travel on the JR Narita Express. A Japan Rail Pass is definitely worth getting if you're visiting more than one city in Japan - see my comprehensive Japan Rail Pass guide to understand how it will save you money.Another option is the Keisei Skyliner which you can book online with GoVoyagin. See below for details and more options.The best way between Haneda and Tokyo is the Tokyo Monorail Line (Y490, 13 minutes on fastest trains) or a taxi (about Y6,000, 30 to 45 minutes). See below…