Thailand is well known for its captivating natural wonders, picturesque destinations, delectable cuisine, and rich culture, but only a small number of tourists are familiar with its profusion of vineyards and cutting-edge wineries, which have been around for more than 30 years.
With vineyards in places like Khao Yai, Hua Hin, Pattaya, Chiang Rai, and the provinces of Loei and Phichit, Thailand has developed into a mecca for oenophiles and now produces over a million bottles of wine annually. However, what sets Thailand apart from other traditional wine destinations is its unique varietals, including a wine made from the Mak Mao fruit, also known as the Thai Blueberry.
For decades, residents of Phu Phan’s northeastern district in Sakhon Nakhon, have foraged and used these berries in their pounded papaya salads. After years of humdrum usage, an astute native – Mr. Khanop Wannawong – discovered potential in Mak Mao and spent over 30 years collecting and perfecting this peculiar fruit in the Wannawong Garden. Today, the garden grows the most diverse range of Mak Maos in the world, with approximately 31 species, including Sakhon Nakhon’s own variant, which has earned a GI mark.
Because of its salubrious characteristics, wine made from this Mak Mao variant has been dubbed “The Fountain of Youth.” This unique wine contains anthocyanins, which are flavonoids that regulate the composition of the gut biome and have overlapping mechanisms that help prevent cardiovascular disease, cancer, neurological illnesses, and aging-related bone loss. It also has a distinct flavour – A pleasant commingling of sweetness and tartness inherited from the Mak Mao fruit, accentuated by a strong aroma.
Certainly, one of the many compelling reasons to visit (or re-experience) Thailand!