Samut Sakhon Province prides itself on the exceptional quality of its fruit and if you talk to the people of Krathum Baen District, they will claim to have the best coconuts in the country.Ban Phaeo District is noted for excellent guavas while Samutsakorn District, which borders the coastline, boasts a long history in the production of table grapes.
In recent times, the planting of grapes has increased because of the development of the Thai wine industry. Siam Winery has its modern production plant here and is the largest single grape buyer in the area.
The intriguingly titled "Floating Vineyards" are to be found only in this province, which is about 60 kms from Bangkok on the Chao Phraya Delta. They are planted between the Tha Chin and Mae Klong Rivers. Looking from above they appear to be normal vineyards.
When you look down however, you'll be surprised to see boats floating in the water underneath the vines!
A closer inspection will show that the vines are actually planted on narrow strips of land between evenly spaced canals.
This makes working in these vineyards an interesting experience, both for pruning and harvesting.
Malaga Blanc grapes are the predominant variety grown here for the production of white wine.
If you go with us to visit the Floating Vineyards, please remember that this is an viticultural business which makes no special allowances for visitors. Thus you might find the 'doorway' a little challenging but there will always be a helping hand ready to assist you.
The soil is rich and fertile but every year during the rainy season the banks need to be reinforced to make sure they do not collapse, thereby destroying the vines.
The harvest picking takes place early in the morning and provides welcome employment for local people. Pics were taken in the afternoon, hence no pickers!
The plastic containers for harvesting are distributed and collected by boat.
The local variety of red grape is Pokdum which has a rich plum taste when eaten fresh.
There are about 56,000 rai or 9,000 ha of vineyards producing grapes for Siam Winery.
You can buy freshly harvested grapes to take home at the exhorbitant price of 20 baht per kg.
Siam Winery is 35 kms from the Floating Vineyards, down a series of twisting country lanes.
Once you pass the security at the front gate you'll wend your way around the whole property before arriving at the impressive visitor centre which includes shaded parking for your car.
They have a token patch of vineyards here just so visitors can see what grape vines look like.
The winery is huge and even though this photo is a little dark it is included to give you an idea of the size of the plant. Bear in mind that there are three rows of tanks on each side.
Some of their wines are aged in oak barrels imported from France - the barrels are imported not the wine - and you can reserve your own barrel for the paltry sum of 100,000 baht.
No wine tour would be complete without the prerequisite wine tasting and this is one you will be sure to enjoy. The tasting is done with full-sized wine glasses and the quality of the wines will surprise you, while the prices will encourage you to buy more than you intended.
Book your Floating Vineyards Trip with Bangkok Day Tours