Welcome, to The Best Five Minute Wine Podcast, I'm your host, Forrest Kelly. From the seed to the glass, wine has a past. Our aim at The Best Five Minute Wine Podcast is to look for adventure at wineries around the globe. After all, grape minds think alike. Let's start the adventure. Our featured winery is. Hello. This is your captain
speaking. Welcome to Juergen's airlines, we hope you enjoy your flight to thehttps://www.britannica.com/place/Bhutan ( Kingdom of Bhutan) in the Himalayas, Bhutan is sandwiched between two countries India and China on our flight this
evening is Michael Juergens, Michael has helped plant vineyards at nine thousand feet to start the first winery in the Kingdom of Bhutan. So sit back, relax and enjoy your flight. Remember, if we have a bumpy landing, it's not the captain's fault. It's not the co-pilot's fault. It's the asphalt.
Hi, this is Mike Juergens. I'm the author ofhttps://www.drinkingandknowingthings.com/ ( Drinking and Knowing Things) and a number of other Wine Books. I also founded the wine industry in the Kingdom of Bhutan in the Himalayas, and I'm a Master of Wine candidate.
Ok, Michael, we'll get into each of those credentials, but first just doing a little bit of research on the Kingdom of Bhutan. They have 5,400 species of plants, compared to 17,000 here in the United States. They were one of the first countries to ban tobacco use. Archery is the number one sport. Health care is free. Where was the inspiration? What did the inspiration come from to start producing wine in Bhutan?
Well, I had traveled all around the world visiting all the other global wine regions as part of trying to pursue my https://www.mastersofwine.org/ (Master of Wine qualification). And when I went to Bhutan to run a marathon, it just looked like the kind of place that should have vineyards. You just had these magnificent terraced slopes with these beautiful crops.
Everything I ate was the best. Whatever I've eaten, the best cucumber, the best carrot, like everything was just spectacularly good. And so that to me led me to believe that they had a vineyard somewhere. So I asked everybody, where are the vineyards? And turned out they didn't have any. And so I kind of said, you guys need to do this like starting now. And they listened.
They listened to you. So you must have been very persuasive and shown them the potential of what could be right. Because Bhutan is, you know, looking at a map is and imagining the Himalayas. This isn't going to be the main thoroughfare for trade.
Bhutan is pretty isolated in the Himalayas and so it remained pretty much on its own until, like the 1970s. You know, they just didn't have any Western influence. You know, the https://www.worldhistory.org/Silk_Road/ (Silk Road) never went through there, and so Vitis
vinifera never got planted there. You know, the Roman Army never reached that far on the https://www.worldhistory.org/Silk_Road/ (Silk Road) didn't go through it. So I don't think it was a function of there wasn't, you know, a desire to to have it or to avoid it. I
think it just never got there. And even today, you know, the country monitors who can go into the country. They don't want to overburden it with tourism. There just hasn't been a lot of Western influence in there, and it just took some stupid guy like me asking dumb questions like where the vineyards? And they sort of said, Huh,
we hadn't thought about that, you know? So it wasn't that that this had never been broached before. It just was. I think I happen to be the right place at the right time where the country was a little bit more open to trying to make this work.
How about the residents and the culture? Do they drink wine? There's a really big wine culture there, but it's all around rice wine. And so each family makes their special recipe, you know, secretly guarded family recipe for their rice wine, which they make in their kitchens, and it's considered to be very traditional.
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