Samui Wining & Dining
Island Oasis

Samui Wine Oasis lives up to its name, offering a tranquil escape from the crowds.

Samui Wine Oasis lives up to its name, offering a tranquil escape from the crowds.Most visitors to Samui will visit Chaweng at least once. And most will experience what Chaweng is renowned for - hip and happening bars, dance clubs, restaurants advertising cheap cocktails and beer, music pumping from every establishment becoming a bit of a blur, and vendors enticing you to their stalls, promising the deal of the decade. Add to that a few drunken tourists, swerving scooters and honking taxis and Chaweng can overwhelm the senses.

But if all of this craziness threatens to drive you to drink, you’re in for a bit of luck, as slap bang in the middle of the madness, lies Samui Wine Oasis. And an oasis it is indeed. Now while you can most certainly get a great cocktail or a beer here, it’s the wine (as the name suggests) that makes this place well worth a visit. Wine, unlike beer, is meant to be sipped slowly and savoured. There’s nothing rushed about enjoying a good bottle of wine, and it leads you to automatically relax and unwind, while also encouraging good conversation. After all, the best wines are the ones we drink with friends. As Jessica Altieri wrote in her book, Kiss My Glass, “Wine is just a conversation waiting to happen.”

During the month of February, Samui Wine Oasis are promoting their ‘Classic Night in the Garden’. Nothing complicated, no set menus – just delicious food, a great wine selection with daily promotions, and the perfect romantic setting for Valentine’s month. Here you can sit under a canopy of tall trees glowing with fairy lights, at tables set with white table clothes, silverware and candles, and sip on a perfectly chilled bottle of wine, watching the world go by and take the time to enjoy good company. Choose from several dining areas, from the wooden deck under the trees and vines, to the elegant yet laid back dining room overlooking the tasting room and cellar, or move to the barrels at the street front if you’re just after some drinks and want to do a spot of people watching.

While the rest of Chaweng seems to be set on ‘fast forward’, at Samui Wine Oasis, life slows down to a more relaxing pace, and what better way to enjoy it than over a good bottle of wine and a tasty meal. Better yet, for the month of February, Samui Wining & Dining readers will enjoy a complimentary glass of sparkling rosé as a welcome drink with their meal. From 4:00 pm, when the restaurant opens until 8:00 pm, guests can enjoy the ‘Early Bird Special’, with daily promotions on beer, cocktails and house wine.

Samui Wine Oasis is the brainchild of Khun Napasoon Chayuntaradilok, better known as Khun Laem, a pilot with Thai Airways, who has travelled the world with his wife, Khun Piyamas, and developed a love of wine during his travels. He is lucky enough to have visited wine regions around the globe, and has attended several winemaking and wine appreciation courses abroad. Khun Laem wanted to share his appreciation of wine, and spread wine culture within Thailand, so opened Samui Wine Oasis in 2012, promising to provide top quality wines at reasonable prices – no easy achievement with Thailand’s tax on wine being 200 – 300%! Yet, he’s managed to live up to his word. While Khun Laem takes care of the ‘bigger picture’ of choosing the wines to be stocked in the restaurant and wine shop, Khun Piyamas focuses on the ‘smaller picture’, helping guests to select the best wine to accompany their meal. Whether you fancy Thai food or international cuisine, she knows what will go best with your dishes to bring out the flavours.

Staff training is on-going at Wine Oasis, not only in wine knowledge, but also customer service and in the kitchen. All staff are trained in wine service – from the temperature of the wine, the glass it’s served in, the manner in which the wine is opened and poured, and all bottles are kept in the climate controlled cellar and wine fridges. Being an airline pilot, Khun Laem understands the importance of good customer service, and he brings in outside consultants to assist with training the staff. He believes that there are three main elements to a successful dining experience - excellent quality of food and wine; friendly, efficient service;Samui Wine Oasis lives up to its name, offering a tranquil escape from the crowds. and an inviting atmosphere. And like a three-legged stool, if one element is missing, no matter how good the other two elements are, the structure collapses, and the dining experience is not enjoyable.

Now while wine drinking can be an expensive habit, especially in Thailand, at Samui Wine Oasis you’ll find a wide selection of wines, all personally selected by Khun Laem. Some are priced as low as 490 baht per bottle. In fact most bottles are under 1,000 baht in the ‘casual wines’ category. For those looking for something a little more special, make a choice from the ‘smart wines’ selection, ranging from 1,400 to 1,900 baht per bottle, and for a special occasion, select a bottle from the ‘classic wines’ range, which are priced from 3,300 baht to 7,500 baht per bottle – so there’s something for all pockets. Wines are sourced from around the world, including Argentina, Italy, France, Australia, South Africa, Chile, USA, New Zealand, Austria and Spain. Khun Laem is also keen to promote local Thai wines, which have made their mark in the wine world in recent years, so you’ll see a selection from Thai wine estates too. All these wines are also available to purchase from the temperature-controlled wine shop, if you’re looking for something to take home.

To accompany the quality wine, all meals are prepared with the finest and freshest ingredients, by a Thai chef with more than 40 years of experience in the kitchen. The menu offers local classics and international cuisine as well as fusion dishes. A display of fresh seafood on ice at the front of the restaurant lets you make your selection, and have it prepared to your liking. And if your palate is not yet accustomed to Thai chillies, you can choose to have it mild to medium. A few menu highlights include Thai shrimp cakes, coated in toasted almond slivers, fresh Vietnamese spring rolls or an assorted Italian cold cut platter or cheese platter to start. The menu is diverse, with a vast selection of appetisers, salads, entrées and desserts, and European favourites include pastas and steaks.

Samui Wine Oasis is attached to the beautiful Chaweng Garden Beach Resort, easy to find along Chaweng Beach Road, a few hundred metres north of Central Festival, and is open daily from 4:00 pm to midnight.

          

Rosanne Turner


 


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