HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Sarapee Winery offers wine without chemical fertilizers

The Whiffenpoof World Tour 2005 in Chiang Mai

Photo exhibition showing at Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden, Mae Rim

Gold is green in Sompetch Gold Place

Sarapee Winery offers wine without chemical fertilizers

Sandy Clark

Thailand as a winemaking country was almost unthinkable twenty years ago, but nowadays more and more wineries are opening up to fill the expanding market of wine lovers.

One of these small (12 rai) wineries is located in Sarapee, and is owned by Alema Greis and Dieter Geidt. They emphasized that it is not simply a matter of planting grapes and then making wine - it needed years of trying and testing and tasting until they were ready to share with other wine loving Chiang Mai residents.

Alema Greis and Dieter Geidt, the owners of Sarapee Winery.

Their wine is free of chemical fertilizers and is made as they did 50 years ago in Europe. Harvesting, after planting and nurturing, is the first step in the actual wine making process and at Sarapee this is by hand only. The grapes, grown under huge tent-like buildings, are crushed in hygienic mechanical presses that they claim improves the quality and longevity of wine while reducing the winemaker’s need for preservatives.

Fermentation is the central issue in the making of wine. Dieter told us that this can take anywhere from ten days to over two weeks and the resulting level of alcohol will vary, according to the sugar content. The white Riesling Tocai, which we tried, had 12 percent and is considered normal but it can go up to 15 percent.

Grapes under the protective plastic tents ripen without chemical fertilizer.

At the moment Sarapee winery produces seven different wines ranging in price from 480 to 850 baht. A classic Domina (2004), a wonderful light tasting Pinot Noir (2004), two more Domina wines from 2002 and 2003, Schwarz Riesling (2002 and 2004), plus one white wine, the Riesling Tocai.

Already pressed but ‘still alive’, the grapes during one of the stages to become wine.

I asked Alema who she considers her target group, and without hesitation she replied, “Anybody who loves wine as much as we do. We sell most to small wine boutiques but we would like to serve the local community.” They also now have a restaurant where “house wine” takes on a new meaning and their wines can be tasted while enjoying Italian pasta and cheeses.

Sarapee winery is just outside Sarapee and for reservations or a map contact restaurant manager Roberto at 0 9433 4361 or 0 4614 2783.

The Sarapee Winery label with a drawing of a dreaming mermaid on the moon, done by their 14-year-old daughter.

Bottled red wine with the stainless steel tanks in the background.

The Whiffenpoof World Tour 2005 in Chiang Mai

Sandy Clark

The Wiffenpoofs, 14 a capella singers from Yale University, have made a musical stopover in Northern Thailand a yearly event, with some help from the American Consul General in Chiang Mai and the Amari Rincome Hotel. The 14 young men in their tuxedos, singing in harmony, marched into the Payorm Room, thrilling the audience who were eager to compare this year’s Whiffenpoof group to last year’s.

14 graduates from Yale University are singled out each year to go on World Tour as ‘The Whiffenpoofs’.

One difference this year was the charity aspect with some of the proceeds of the various concerts being distributed towards aid for the needy. While the Whiffenpoofs collect and promote a Children’s Literacy Initiative, the proceeds from Chiang Mai will go to ‘Baht for a better Life’ project which builds schools in northern rural areas. As Baritone Jeff Barrett pointed out, it is the hope of the group to act as “junior ambassadors” bringing international attention to the importance of literacy.

A highlight was the interchange between Chiang Mai residents and the artists. ‘Ex’ Californians, Michael and Mary Berbae with bass Brian Kendig from Santa Monica.

In addition to a financial contribution, the Whiffenpoofs are getting involved in service projects, visiting schools and orphanages to perform for children, spending time reading with children, and helping establish local literacy centers. They hope to establish 15 literacy centers in various countries.

Their repertoire covered all the standards from “Bye Bye Blackbird”, “I’ll be seeing you” and “On Broadway” to the more lively songs from Cole Porter’s “Too darn Hot” and surprisingly the most interactive one was the normally rather slow “Midnight Train to Georgia”. But as in previous Whiffenpoof concerts the time when the Whiffenpoof Song was played came much too soon.

Baritone Jeff Barrett during his interpretation of Cole Porter’s ‘Too Darn Hot’.

Photo exhibition showing at Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden, Mae Rim

Anchana Kosawantana

A photo exhibition displaying the works of three professional photographers can be seen at Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden in Mae Rim until July 30. It was organized by Dr. Werachai Na Nakorn, director of Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden.

Dr. Werachai Na Nakorn, director of Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden, at the exhibition which is on show until July 30.

The three photographers, Woranan Chadchawanthipakorn, one of the top ten photographers of ‘The Photographic Society of America’ from 1987-2004; Wisan Namkhang, who has an FAO silver medal and Best of Show P.S.A. plus a gold medal from ‘The Photographic Society of America’ and Surajit Jamornman, an ‘Unseen Thailand magazine and Think Earth calendar’ photographer, will join with 50 keen-to-learn amateurs, both foreign and Thai to take photos on the occasion of the upcoming royal celebrations. Surachai Eua-areephitak, a well known freelance photographer and Somkuan Sookiam, an officer of Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden will give instructions on shooting flowers and trees.

Photo taking techniques concerning culture, ceremonies and tourism related issues were described using the artists’ work as examples of composition. After the training, the participants were assigned to take photos and the teachers selected the best photos to display at the exhibition.

A lotus flower shot by one the participants.

Gold is green in Sompetch Gold Place

Sandy Clark
Nopniwat Krailerg

The grand opening of the new mini complex ‘Sompetch Gold Place’ took place last Saturday showcasing exclusive outlets such as popular coffee shops with a bakery, the ‘First Drug’ pharmacy, an Internet cafe, a fashionable shoe shop called ‘Seven Hip Shoes’, a cozy home and d้cor boutique, ‘Dee Dee Pan Pan Collection’ with comforts of modern lifestyle from Vietnam and China and ‘Siriwaranya’ an elegant boutique with jewelry and clothes. For hungry and thirsty people, a pizzeria and a new branch of the well known ‘Amazing Sandwich’ and, should you run out of money with all the shopping, a branch of Krungsri Ayudhaya Bank.

A great number of VIPs turned up to grace the event. From left: French Hon. Consul Thomas Baude, Nit, Japanese Consul General Katsuhiro Shinohara, Dr. George Sioris, former Greek ambassador to Thailand, Dararat Shinawatra, Yowvapa Wongsawat, advisor to the prime minister, and Suwat Tantipat, governor of Chiang Mai, amongst other dignitaries.

Dararat Shinawatra, project manager of Sompetch Gold Place, gave the opening address saying that the property belonged to her late Uncle Sompetch Suggannasil. She said, “Sompetch Gold Place is a mini complex with beautiful greenery, flowers, and water features in the middle of a busy town.”

The new mini complex is located less than 100 meters before you reach the Rydges Amora Tapae Hotel on Chaiyaphum Road.