Samui Wining & Dining
Seeing the Wood for the Trees

Black Forest Distribution helps you get to grips with what wines to buy.

 Black Forest Distribution helps you get to grips with what wines to buy.You probably associate the words Black Forest with the famously tasty cake or the beautiful wooded area in the south of Germany. What you may not know is that on Samui they are synonymous with some of the island’s best wine imports. The company’s actually based in Phuket but has a branch here on Samui.

Black Forest Distribution has been in business since 1991, and cut its corporate teeth back in the days when it was difficult to find wines in Thailand. A lot has changed since then, but the company has kept up-to-date with each development and has a great reputation amongst its clientele for its knowledge and the way it keeps on delivering great wines. The world of wines, as everyone knows, is a tricky one and part of Black Forest’s idea is to bring their customers a variety of wines that will please. At the same time, they also want you to know what the latest trends are in the wine world, both in Europe and the New World.

Black Forest is the brainchild of a connoisseur, Hans-Peter Blumer, who saw how few wines made their way to Thailand, so decided to start importing them. He had to overcome a lot of bureaucracy and deal with Kafkaesque import procedures, but kept at it until he proved he could bring in wines and ensure good prices. He began approaching some of the best brands in the business and gradually Black Forest came to be a respected importer of great wines.

Naturally it’s well-nigh impossible to do something this entrepreneurial single-handedly and Hans-Peter needed someone to help him. He chose the affable Matthias Gerbert to fulfil this role, something that he does exceedingly well. The duo fight to get quality wines to Phuket and Samui – always negotiating with the vendors for the lowest price possible.

Matthias’ job is to keep Black Forest running on Koh Samui. “Over the years wine on Samui has become a lot more competitive,” he says, “That’s because there are so many more suppliers now in operation.” For him that means really knowing what customers want. The team keep abreast of what’s going on in the world of wine through reading professional magazines and keeping up with what the international press is reporting on. They know what both the public and wine experts think about wine and everything to do with it. They visit wine fairs as it’s a great way to get to meet the producers in person and chat with them about their wines and the quality. A wine ends up in Black Forest's selection only if it is an absolute quality/price ratio leader. This way you can be sure that a wine is a safe buy and you’ll also find it’s reasonably priced.

“Bringing wines from one country to another always sounds easy but it turns out to be quite difficult,” Mattthias says. “There’s an immense amount of bureaucracy involved. Recently tax laws applicable to wine have changed; before they amounted to some 400% and now the calculation is done in new ways and basically amounts to about 500%, when everything is taken into consideration. Black Forest Distribution helps you get to grips with what wines to buy.It’s tough to deal with percentages like that, while also ensuring quality.”

Black Forest has a great stock of wines and there are always new arrivals. For example, recently they’ve stocked up on some Chilean wines produced by savvy François Lurton, a fifth generation family wine producer who has estates in Argentina, Chile, Spain and France.

Black Forest imports a trio of his wines. The Kawin Cabernet Sauvignon is ruby red, with smoky cherry and cedar aromas. It’s medium to full-bodied and is best served with beef and grilled vegetables. Then there’s the Kawin Sauvignon Blanc, a smooth and tasty wine, and the Hacienda Araucano Carmenere, which is deep crimson in colour, has intense aromas of prune, white pepper and notes of rosemary and thyme. Prices are 480 Baht plus tax for the first two, and 680 Baht plus tax for the last.

All storage and transport is done according to prescribed standards and temperatures. The company will also replace any product not living up to standard. Should you need to visit Black Forest, it’s easy to get to: take the first turning on the right just after Makro Lamai, as you head towards Ban Hua Thanon. Then turn right again and you’ll arrive at the offices. Whether you’re buying wholesale or just a single bottle of wine, you’ll be made very welcome.

It’s also worth checking out the website, by the way, not only for the full range of products, but also for the extremely nifty device that suggests wines to go with your meal. Just fill out the kind of food you're eating and any details about the kind of wine you would like and the website comes up with informed choices.

Whether you’re running a restaurant, bar or hotel, or just want to serve some great wine to your friends, Black Forest is on hand to help you with professional choices and wines that have been carefully shipped with nothing left to chance.


Dimitri Waringi


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