In tandem with Asia's ever-growing levels of wine consumption, the last two decades have seen a surge of interest in wine production, with entrepreneurs and hobbyists staking out their choices of terroir in the unlikeliest of locations, from sweltering river deltas to forested uplands. Granted, none are ready yet to challenge the supremacy of Old or New World vintnersbut wasn't Australian wine widely mocked a mere 30 years ago? Here are three names to watch:
INDONESIA: When Hatten Wines (www.hattenwines.com) started production at Sanur, Bali with Alphonse Lavelle grapes in 1994, experts scoffed, claiming that the table variety was unsuitable for winemaking. They were wrong. Hatten's Rosé is medium dry, fresh and pleasantly fruity. Winemaker Vincent Desplat also produces an award-winning, semi-sweet wine, Pino de Bali.
THAILAND: Siam Winery (www.siamwinery.com) began life producing blended wine-juice coolers, but lifted its game in recent years with the help of French winemaker Laurent Metge-Toppin. Siam's Chatemp label took a bronze medal at the International Wine & Spirits competition in 2001.
JAPAN: With Asia's most developed winemaking industry, Japan has some 230 producers. Katsunuma is perhaps the best known. Its award-winning Château Mercian label (www.chateaumercian.com) comprises wines made from Japanese and European grapes.