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    Thailand is now making award-winning wines – and here’s the woman behind it

    Nikki Lohitnavy, slotxo who runs GranMonte Estate, is changing the perception of Thai wine internationally. And she’s determined to take the industry to the next level.

    Nikki Lohitnavy is Thailand’s first and only female winemaker. “In high school, when I told our career advisors that I wanted to study wine, they said: ‘you’re from Thailand, it’s not a wine region’, and ‘you’re Asian, and you’re female’. I was like: ‘I’m going to be a winemaker so that I can show them I can grow grapes and make wine’,” she recalled.

    Lohitnavy runs GranMonte Estate in Asoke Valley, located in Thailand’s Nakhon Ratchasima district. It is the only winery in the world that uses grapes exclusively grown in Thailand.

    GranMonte sits on the foothills of Khao Yai, Thailand’s third largest national park. Its elevation, cool climate and calcium-rich red clay, similar to soil conditions in Europe and Australia, make it a suitable site for grape growing and winemaking.

    Lohitnavy’s passion for winemaking stems from her parents, who are wine enthusiasts. They bought the two-hectare piece of land, which used to be a cornfield and cashew plantation, a decade ago. They started the vineyard as a hobby.

    “It’s definitely part of my childhood. After school, we would drive up from Bangkok, and spend the weekend here. So, I was helping out in the vineyard, and just seeing how the vines grow. My dad would open a bottle of wine and let me sniff it a little bit. I was fascinated by how each grape is of a different variety when they are grown at different sites, with different soil and different climates. They can taste and smell really different,” she said.

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