Our Story

Legacy

Monsoon Valley was founded in 2001 by Chalerm Yoovidhya, a wine-loving entrepreneur with a vision to create a Thai wine culture. Upon returning from his studies abroad, Chalerm saw potential in growing grapes in his beloved native Thailand and set out to show the world that great wines can be crafted even at the 13th latitude of the northern hemisphere.

His first vineyard was at Tab Kwang, in beautiful Khao Yai, a region known as the 'traditional' grape-growing region of Thailand. Surrounded by national parks and jungle, the choice for this area was perfect as the fertile red soil and convenient climate conditions created the best platform for making opulent and rich Shiraz. After initial success in Tab Kwang, he explored other areas of Thailand that would give birth to great wines.

A new opportunity arose in 2003, when Khun Chalerm was invited to plant grapes at the Huay Sai Royal Research project, a trial vineyard located in Petchburi, which at that time was not viewed as a wine-growing region in Thailand. However, to his surprise, the quality of the grapes was very good, so he started searching for a plot of land large enough to grow grapes at a commercial level in the Hua Hin area.

He found the ideal spot in Baan Khork Chang, a pristine valley 35km away from sunny Hua Hin beach. The site was built on a former elephant corral, a sublime place where wild Asian elephants were once domesticated . This is where our flagship vineyard, Monsoon Valley Vineyard, is located today. Varietals such as Colombard and Chenin Blanc, Sangiovese, Rondo and Shiraz were found to thrive here. Added later were Muscat, Dornfelder, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc varietals.

Being close to the sea gives our Hua Hin vineyards an advantage as nights tend to be cooler with fresh breeze coming from the hills, whilst the sandy and loamy soil is enriched with shells and fossils giving minerality and freshness to the wines. The total area planted in Hua Hin is 700 RAI (110 hectar).

The remaining land is home of many indigenous plants and animals that Khun Chalerm is keen to cherish and foster as he believes that the balance of nature is key to crafting great and unique wines.

See Biodiversity

In 2013, Khun Chalerm ventured further North to Chiang Mai and planted a small vineyard to see if the climate conditions would generate further characteristic wine styles. In doing so, he continued his pioneering spirit, being one of the only people that believes in cultivating grapes in different locations within Thailand, giving wine lovers a choice of wines crafted in various areas that differ in character and style.

Together with a strong viticulture and winemaking team, he continues to explore and continue striving for excellence and crafting high quality Thai wines.

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How monsoon valley got its name

The monsoon season is a integral part to healthy crops in any tropical country. Thailand's monsoon season lasts from June to October, and is considered a life-giving period where farmers collect the waters from the monsoon rains and use during the dry season to cultivate their land.

Without this rain, there would be no agriculture possible in Thailand. The characteristic Naga and Monsoon Valley's label is the symbol of fertility and prosperity as the Naga is believed to bring the annual monsoon rains to our region.

What is tropical viticulture?

We often get the question: how it is possible to grow wine grapes in Thailand, a tropical country which doesn't have a four-season cycle such as traditional wine growing countries?

The answer to this is with perseverance and the ability to accept initial failures, everything is possible. In tropical climates, the plant is evergreen, which means it continues to grow without a winter's rest. That also means the plants carry very little grapes, as it would focus mainly on vegetative growth rather than reproductive growth, which is counterproductive if there is a need for grapes. Therefore one has to guide the plant and set the time for the production cycle.

In a tropical climate, one usually splits between rainy vs dry season. Locations chosen to grow grapes usually have a compact dry season which means in the past years, there was almost no rainfall detected during that period and very compact rainy seasons.

During the dry season (green color) which starts in Thailand around mid to end October, viticulturists plan their productive cycle, which will give them grapes. Considering the climate in Thailand, it takes around 120-130 days from pruning until fully matured grapes. The cycle usually starts when the monsoon rains end, which means pruning season starts and ends with the harvest season, usually from mid-February until mid-April.

During that time, water collected in the ponds from the Monsoon rains is used for irrigation. After harvest, with the onset of the rainy season, a new cycle begins and the plant is pruned again.

Since during the rainy season, it rains almost every day, it is impossible to produce high-quality grapes during that time. Any fruit set during this period will be cut out and the whole cycle will be only used as a vegetative growth giving the plant time to recover and rebuild strength for the coming productive dry season.

This method of two cycles/ one crop is intended to help the plants keep their natural balance, whilst guaranteeing only high quality grapes during the dry season.

The Monsoon Valley timeline

A chronological look at Monsoon Valley's history over the past two decades since it's inception.

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2002

2545 BE
  • Launched new wine brand name and label design (Waterfall label), Monsoon Valley Wine, made from grapes harvested from floating vineyard in Samut Sakorn
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2003

2546 BE
  • Monsoon Valley Colombard was selected to be an official wine served in APEC conference.
  • Started exporting Monsoon Valley Wine to USA, UK and Japan
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2004

2547 BE
  • Started planting Shiraz grapes at trial vineyard, Huay Sai Royal Research project in Prachuap Khiri Khan
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2005

2548 BE
  • Started planting grape vines on Hua Hin Hills Vineyard. With its sandy loam soil and cool climate - the vines showed vigorous growth and good tasting fruit within a year, creating aromatic Monsoon Valley Wine.
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2006

2549 BE
  • Bottling of Monsoon Valley Bin 9 Royal Reserve 2005; donated entire lot to HM King Bhumibol 60th ascension to the throne; used at functions in the palace.
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2007

2550 BE
  • Launched new “Naga” label designed by Ou Baholyodhin, depicting the spiritual and mystical naga, the bringer of monsoon rain and fertility to our vineyard.
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2008

2551 BE
  • Siam Winery built state-of-the-art winery in Samut Sakhon
  • The Sala Wine Bar and Bistro grand opening at Hua Hin Hills Vineyard
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2009

2552 BE
  • World-renowned wine critic Robert Parker tasted Monsoon Valley Wine in BKK, commenting that: "Perhaps the biggest surprise was the 2008 Colombard from Monsoon Valley. This tasty offering had a resemblance to the wonderful Colombard that used to be made in Napa Valley by the owners of Chalone“ and Lisa Perotti Brown – master of wine from USA also mentioned about our Colombard that “Genuinely interesting wine of surprisingly good quality”.
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2010

2553 BE
  • Introduced Monsoon Valley Flagship Range to the market with the launch of Monsoon Valley Sparkling Brut Blanc de Blancs, the first sparkling wine from Monsoon Valley Wine made in the traditional Champenoise method
  • Launched Monsoon Valley Cuvée de Siam Blanc and Cuvée de Siam rouge, highest quality wine made from the healthiest and ripest grapes – with tiger label design from Thailand’s national artist, Thawan Dutchanee
  • Monsoon Valley Wine together with top chefs from around the world, such as McDang, Ian Kittichai, Bo and Dylan Jones, David Thompson, showcased new fine dining experiences by pairing Thai food with Monsoon Valley Wine at Hua Hin Hills Vineyard.
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2011

2554 BE
  • Launch of Monsoon Valley Sparkling Extra Sec Rosé, the finest sparkling rosé from Monsoon Valley Wine
  • Continued charitable dinners – joining the second annual fundraiser for Soi Cats and Dogs (SCAD) charity. Monsoon Valley was also the only Thai wine that partnered with Bangkok Chef Charity Gala Dinner.
  • Monsoon Valley Wine together with Thai celebrity, Mr.Ravit Teutvongse, created a special label theme “Relationship” for raising funds for border patrol police schools and underprivileged children in Northeastern Thailand under the royal patronage of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn.
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2012

2555 BE
  • 10th year anniversary of Monsoon Valley Wine
  • Hosted 10 Chefs 10 Dinners at Hua Hin Hills Vineyard to celebrate 10th year anniversary of Monsoon Valley Wine featuring 10 of Thailand’s top chefs who created exclusive menus to pair with Thai world-class wine, Monsoon Valley Wine.
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2013

2556 BE
  • Monsoon Valley Late Harvest Chenin Blanc won gold medal at Decanter World Wine Awards (DWWA)
  • Monsoon Valley Vineyard started growing experimental plots at our vineyard in Chiang Mai
  • Continued to host 10 chefs 10 dinners to celebrate Monsoon Valley’s 10th anniversary with another 5 world-class guest chefs
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2015

2558 BE
  • Monsoon Valley Chenin Blanc and Monsoon Valley Cuvee de Siam Rouge won Gold medals at Mundus Vini International Wine Award
  • Monsoon Valley Late Harvest Chenin Blanc won Gold medal at Decanter World Wine Awards (DWWA)
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2016

2559 BE
  • Monsoon Valley wine continued to win international wine awards from around the world such as Hong Kong International Wine and Spirit Competition, Decanter World Wide Awards, Mundus Vini International Wine Award, International Wine Challenge, Japan Wine Challenge, and The Global Syrah Master.
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2017

2560 BE
  • Re-launched Hua Hin Hills Vineyard as “Monsoon Valley Vineyard”
  • Monsoon Valley Wine was awarded “Brand of the Year”, National Award for Thailand at World Branding Awards, UK.
  • Monsoon Valley launched Monsoon Valley Signature Red and Monsoon Valley Signature White, a collection of red and white wine made from finely selected quality grapes from Monsoon Valley Vineyard.
  • Monsoon Valley Brut Prestige Sparkling wine, a new sparkling wine was launched.
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2018

2561 BE
  • Monsoon Valley Vineyard hosted the much-anticipated annual Monsoon Valley Harvest Festival 2018 during 1-17 March, 2018, offering “From grape to glass” experience to all guests.
  • Monsoon Valley White Shiraz outperformed over 1,000 rosé wines from around the world by winning top 3 awards from Best Rosé in Thailand 2018, including No.1 Top 10, Best of Show, and Best Value.