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Wine Tasting Tour in Burma

| Words by Lorin Willson |

A first-hand account of Burma’s fledgling vineyards

Wine tasting at Red Mountain Estate

Nestled in the mountains above Inle Lake is Red Mountain Estate. We stumbled across this hidden gem with our local guide, Yin Yin. Knowing we had a four hour train trip ahead of us which was already delayed by two hours (the joys of touring Burma!) we decided to drive directly to Inle Lake. On the way Yin Yin suggested visiting a local winery and vineyard and we jumped at the opportunity.

We hired bicycles for 2,500 kyats each (approx. US$2.50) and set out through the bustling streets of Nyaung Shwe township. The easy 30 minute ride took us along country roads, passing villages and smiling locals. A short 10-minute stroll up a hill and we were rewarded with stunning views across the estate’s 75 hectare vineyard and onto Inle Lake.

Red Mountain Estate VineyardRed Mountain Estate Vineyard, 30 mins from the Nyaung Shwe township.

Established in 2002, Red Mountain Estate produces wine with grapes that are locally grown. The original plants were imported from France, Spain and Israel. For 2,000 kyat each (approx. US$2) we went on a winery tour and sampled four wines including a Sauvignon Blanc, Shiraz, Rose and Late Harvest. We were pleasantly surprised by the quality of the wine and snapped up a bottle of Late Harvest for US$8. A tour of the winery revealed a professional operation with equipment imported from Italy and a master French winemaker…an unbeatable combination!

We spent a couple of hours relaxing at the estate. Lunch can be enjoyed at the restaurant and appeared to be popular among other travellers. We opted to ride back into town for lunch where prices were cheaper. This experience was completely unexpected and proved to be the perfect way to round out our day!