THE wine industry in Thailand is a tough cork to pop. Heavy taxation, expensive shipping and storage, and limited public knowledge about wine in general are just a few of the possible pitfalls awaiting any entrepreneur brave enough to have a sniff at the market here – no matter how sophisticated their nose or palate may be.
That's not to say there aren't any success stories, though. Just take a look at Wine Connection.
In Bangkok the brand operates 11 such establishments, with stand out venues such as the Wine Connection Deli & Bistro at K-Village (Sukhumvit 26), which is packed every weekend with Thai and expat families enjoying international eats, cheese, cold cuts and cakes; the Wine Connection Bistro in Silom (Silom Complex), which is flooded nightly with office workers beating back stress with wine and generous portions of French and Mediterranean-inspired cuisine; and the Wine Connection Tapas Bar & Bistro, at the trendy Rain Hill community mall (Sukhumvit 47), whose tasty nibbles and extensive selection of new and old world wines are a big hit with a hip, young crowd.
Key to Wine Connection's F&B success in Thailand, apart from its extensive selection of wines and tasty comfort food, is its adherence to offering superb value for money.
There aren't many restaurants in town, for example, where you can find wine at just B100 per glass and B349 per bottle. But thanks to an exclusive deal with Jump Yards Wine from Australia (which offers a Cellar Blend Cool White Chardonnay 2013 and Cellar Blend Bold Red Shiraz 2013), Wine Connection is delivering just that.
What's more, at each Bistro or Deli, customers can also select their wines from an adjoining wine shop, with bottles of decent red and white wines starting at just B500 per bottle for consumption on site (and from only B349 to take home).
As for food, while the Bistros and Delis offer slightly different menus, you can still expect to find hearty portions and reasonable prices at both. Thin-crust pizzas start at just B160++, Cheese or Cold cut platters at B290++, Fresh salads start at B150++, and Pasta dishes at B150++.
Exclusive to the Bistros, meanwhile, are new menu highlights such as Braised lamb shank served with mashed potatoes and baby carrots (B390++); Grilled salmon fillet served with mashed potatoes, asparagus, cucumber shallots salad, and white wine sauce (B390++); and the Royal chocolate cake, which is rich, thick and delicious – and a steal at just B100++.
Full details about each of Wine Connection's dining concepts can be found on the company's website, where you can also order wine to be delivered straight to your doorstep.
For more details about Wine Connection's locations in Thailand:
Tel: 02 234 0388