Que Syrah Sera
Despite the gains, the long term future of the GranMonte wines is clouded by the kingdom’s heavily restrictive booze laws.
Thailand has a strange relationship with alcohol. A devoutly Buddhist kingdom, it also has the highest alcohol consumption rate in Southeast Asia, according to the WHO.
A web of rules, including high import taxes on alcohol, hefty fines for breaches and a licensing culture where bars require friends at local police stations, can make drinking a complicated business.
Then there’s the 2008 Alcoholic Beverage Control Act, a law forbidding the display of booze logos on their products, as well as any advertising that could “directly or indirectly appeal to people to drink”.
It’s aimed at controlling consumption, but in effect clips the wings of small producers who do not possess the same reach to customers as established brands.
“I can’t show clearly a bottle of my wine, I can’t post on social media what the wine tastes like, or how or why it’s good,” says Mimi, who worries that their website might fall afoul of the law.
Critics say it has always been unevenly enforced, allowing booze giants to cement their brand recognition, spraying their logos via non-alcoholic drinks like soda water on giant billboards and public transport.