Nikki Visootha Lohitnavy is the first and only female winemaker of Thailand. A non-traditional woman in a non-traditional grape-growing region of the tropics, she is the Director of Viticulture and Winemaking Operations at her family’s winery, GranMonte Estate Vineyard. Graduated from the University of Adelaide in December 2008, she is the only scholar in history of university to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Oenology together with Honours in Viticulture. Her research was published in two respected scientific journals, Journal of Food Quality and Preference (UK) and Vitis (USA).
After graduation, she returned to the land in Northeast Thailand, once a cornfield and cashew plantation, where her father, Visooth Lohitnavy, established the vineyard in 1999. He had a vision for what he wanted to create there; and he studied diligently the vines and soil types to choose just the right varieties that would grow in his vineyard and yield fruit for future generations.
Set in the foothills of Khao Yai National Park, some 350 meters/1,148 feet above sea level, GranMonte Estate Vineyard lies in Asoke Valley, known for its beautiful yellow blossoms indigenous to the region. GranMonte, has a planting area of about 90 rai (approximately 15 hectares/36 acres). It has become a family affair that includes Lohitnavy, his wife, Sakuna, and their two daughters, Mimi and Nikki.
Today, Nikki adapts new winemaking innovations and techniques in the vineyard and wines to further accelerate GranMonte and Thai wines to the highest international quality. The vineyard produces some 15 varieties plus fresh grape juice. The wine grape varieties grown include Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chenin Blanc, Viognier, Semillon, Verdelho, Durif and Grenache. The table grapes come in many varieties with or without seeds, such as Muscat of Alexandria and Hamburg, Thomson, Perlette and Maroo seedless grapes.
The wines have won more than 100 awards in the past four years, including two gold medals and 10 silver medals at the 2016 AWC Vienna, the largest officially recognized international wine competition in the world. Some 1800 wine producers submitted 12,826 wines for judging this year. GranMonte was also judged the Best National Producer of Thailand.
In this unconventional viticulture climate, the winery employs a precision farming system called ‘smart vineyard’, which incorporates a microclimate monitoring system. It combines scientific experiences in grape diseases with leading edge technologies that include cameras and instruments that monitor rain, wind and soil.
GranMonte Estate is only about 160 kilometers/99 miles from Bangkok in a perfect setting with a serene atmosphere and beautiful natural surroundings. It includes a guest house that offers a quiet and unique retreat in Thailand within the idyllic vineyard.
You can experience this award-winning Thai vineyard on our 17-day Thailand and Cambodia adventure.
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