[Travel Diary] Wine Tasting in Myanmar

As I already mentioned in my previous post, there are lots of great things to do in and around Nyaung Shwe/Inle Lake. While I was grateful for the relatively large choice (for Myanmar standards) of spas, restaurants, bars and shopping opportunities, one activity was quite unexpected: There is an actual vinyard just outside of Nyaung Shwe and you can go on a wine tasting in the middle of the Burmese dessert.

Wine Tasting Nyaung Shwe2

Those who know me know that I love wine way too much, so I knew I absolutely had to check out Myanmar’s homegrown Chardonnay. I hired a bike from one of the many stalls in town and set out there on my own. I somehow managed to make a bunch of new friends on this twenty minutes bike ride, which made cycling around the Burmese countryside even more fun.

Once you arrive at the vinyard, don’t expect a fancy chateau or anything the like: The waiters will prepare all the glasses for the entire group, give a micro introduction on the different wines and then leave you for yourself to taste the wines and enjoy the sweet view over the lake.

Wine Tasting Nyaung Shwe3

And well, I guess Burmese wine will never be a big international hit and I don’t forecast for exports to drastically increase anytime soon: The four different wines we got to taste were just not good. At all. Not even a little. I am by no means an expert when it comes to this best of all beverages, but five years in France have made me raise my standards quite a bit and the Burmese wines were really pretty much undrinkable.

Nevertheless, riding the bike to the vinyard is super nice and a winetasting in the middle of Myanmar is just such an unexpected thing to do that it’s hard to resist.

With my newfound friends, we actually decided to continue our ride for a few more kilometers out of Nyaung Shwe, curious on where to road would lead us to. We were surprised by a heavy rainstorm and luckily found shelter in a tiny local shop/bar before stopping at the next bigger village, where we explored the magical lake and hung out with a bunch of local teenagers. It turned out their favourite song was “Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift, so we sure had a lot of stuff to talk about…

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