Myanmar Vineyard Estate Co in Taunggyi, Shan State, has become a member of the Asian Wine Producers Association (AWPA), according to a press release issued by the association on Tuesday.
The winery was established by German citizen Bert Mosbach and it produced its first bottle of wine under the Aythaya label in 2004 after testing thousands of imported grape varieties.
Other new members to AWPA, which was established in 2013, include Sababay Winery from Indonesia and two wineries in Thailand, Silverlake Vineyards and Village Farm Winery.
“The objective of the AWPA is to open eyes in the industry globally so that they can comprehend and respect the outstanding achievements of wineries that have defied conventional logic and evolved ways to grow grapes, mostly in tropical and semitropical climates, and make wines to international standards,” said Denis Gastin of AWPA’s Association Management.
Mr Gastin told The Global New Light of Myanmar that the association is being progressively expanded as international recognition grows and it “becomes obvious to local producers that this will assist to access global resources to improve local outcomes.”
“Only wineries that are committed to wine production from locally grown grapes are eligible to join [the association],” he said.
Myanmar Vineyard, which was the first winery established in Myanmar, joins AWPA’s founding members Gran Monte Vineyard and Winery from Thailand, Grover Zampa Vineyards from India, Hatten Wines from Indonesia, Château Mercian from Japan and Sula Vineyards from India.
“We are of course very proud to be become a member of the AWPA. With this membership, the potential for Myanmar to become well-known and respected as a winegrowing country is even better than before,” said German citizen Hans Leiendecker, Director of Technical Operations at Myanmar Vineyard
Estate Co. Ltd.
“We know that we even under the difficult circumstances in a tropical country, we can produce very good, international standard wines. Therefore it was not difficult for us to gain a membership to AWPA because the quality of our wines that we sent to AWPA’s board were convincing enough,” Mr Leiendecker told The Global New Light of Myanmar on 16 September.
“As a member of the AWPWA we can also benefit from the experiences of other Asian wine-growers,” he added.
Thirteen countries in Asia currently produce wine. The biggest producer is China, which is now ranked fifth as a wine producing nation globally by the Organisation of Viticulture and Wine (OIV).
Mr Gastin told The Global New Light of Myanmar that Asian wineries have developed a certain edge over the ‘Old World’ wine producing region of Europe.
“Winemakers in Asia have, in most cases, had to overcome climates and physical grape growing conditions that had been assumed in the traditional wine world to be impossible for conventional winemaking. They have done this by applying creative thinking beyond the traditional boundaries and a determined effort to produce quality wines.”
He said that although the initial target for Asian winemakers was limited to domestic consumption, many regional wineries are exporting significant proportions of their production to Europe and North America, among elsewhere, and have won a number of international awards.
AWPA has created a “critical mass” of wine makers in the region, providing a platform to attract recognition and respect for the achievements of wine producers in Asia, it said in the press release.
“It takes the combined efforts and collective financial resources of producers to create and maintain a regional identity for grape growing and winemaking. The AWPA has done that by bringing together the leading wine producers in five countries in Asia to present the region’s wine story to a global audience,” said Mr Gastin.
Aythaya exports small volumes to China and it has the largest market share in Myanmar. It is in fact struggling to keep up with domestic demand.
The 100 percent foreign-owned company is urging its contract farmers to increase production to help it fill orders and there are plans to soon open a second winery in Meiktila, Mandalay Region.