Although measuring only roughly 14,000 square miles (slightly smaller than Switzerland), Bhutan is a remarkable place. Called “Druk Yul” or “Land of the Thunder Dragon”, for the mythical legend of dragons breathing fire when thunderstorms would whip down from the tops of the Himalayan peaks, this stunningly beautiful country is punctuated with mountain peaks, deep valleys, rivers and lakes.
Situated in the eastern Himalayas, between China and India, Bhutan rises in just a few hundred miles from steamy jungles to some of the world’s highest peaks. No roads led outside of the Kingdom until the 1960s, and access by air became possible only a few decades ago. This isolation throughout its history has provided refuge for its people to live and practice their rich cultural traditions freely.
With approximately 95 percent of its people practicing traditional farming, Bhutan is a truly agrarian society where people live close to the land that sustains them. Their eco-friendly practices are in part responsible for Bhutan’s designation as a biodiversity visionary. This designation recognizes the country’s remarkably healthy diversity of life, and special approach to life in the 21st Century. The Kingdom has an extraordinarily strong history of agricultural success. Not only is the Kingdom the only carbon-negative country in the world, they are on track to become the world’s first completely organic country.
This history of agricultural success is what lays the foundation for our belief that the Kingdom is capable of producing some of the world’s finest wines, even though wine grapes have not been grown there before.
No product expresses the uniqueness of a place, the culture of its people, and the beauty of its natural features as much as wine does. Mention the word Bordeaux to anyone around the world. They will not think about an industrial town built on reclaimed swampland from a river delta. Quite the contrary, they will immediately associate it with the beauty of Bordeaux wine. The word Chianti brings with it visions of families eating large pasta dinners together, while the word Burgundy, usually whispered with reverence, evokes a sense of thousands of years of monastic tradition, with the only goal being the production of ethereal and elegant wines.
But the sense of place embedded into wines is not limited to those regions that have had the benefit of thousands of years of winemaking tradition. Many countries have developed wine industries that speak to the global wine marketplace about the sense of place present in their country. The Kingdom of Bhutan, with its unique terroir, soil structure, weather, and history of agricultural success, has the opportunity to create a distinct wine identity that will help to demonstrate to the rest of the world a product that speaks about the beauty and magic of this special place.
We believe Bhutan uniquely represents one of the best potential wine development opportunities in the world right now, for a number of reasons:
Great Potential Terroir – The Kingdom possesses a unique terroir across many diverse microclimates, that we believe provides the potential for growing high quality wine grapes. Sloped farmland is the norm, and the soil shows the high iron content similar to that found in places like Coonawarra and La Mancha. The sun exposure is high, similar to that found in famous wine regions Chianti and Rioja. Altitude in the Kingdom ranges from 1,000 feet to 24,000 feet, providing access to a wide range of growing sites, including those similar to the high altitude sites in Mendoza which produces some of the world’s best Malbec.
A World-renowed Reputation – The Kingdom itself is globally recognized for its leading-edge social policies, from its development of the Gross National Happiness metric, its focus on environmental sustainability and becoming the first carbon negative county in the world, and its natural beauty which attracts affluent tourists from all over the world. Additionally, the predominantly Buddhist country is known for its peaceful and loving people, and tranquil spirit. The Kingdom of Bhutan has immediate awareness and prestige as a place to admire, respect, and learn more about. This allows us to celebrate the country’s rarity and magic in the production of Bhutanese fine wine, where the sense of place is a dominant factor in choosing a wine.
The Opportunity to Start from Scratch – The Kingdom has not had any vineyards planted prior to April 2019 (see 'The Grapes and Vineyards' page) and produces no wine locally. There are not industry codifications or regulatory requirements, or historical structural and branding issues often seen in many developed wine producing regions. We have the opportunity to craft and develop the entire industry within the Kingdom, in a way that leverages current leading practices for grape growing, winemaking, and sales and marketing.
A Collaborative Environment – The BWC was founded on triple bottom line principles and is deeply committed to social and environmental aspirations. Our goal is to produce a high-end product for the export markets, which will continue to showcase the Kingdom to the global community. Through doing so, we intend to provide jobs for many citizens, and more importantly create opportunities for citizens to develop support businesses – from growing their own grapes which we can process and market, to the use of local craftsmen and artisans to create support products, and a host of ancillary opportunities in areas like trucking or maintenance. Also, our focus on organic grape growing directly aligns with the Kingdom’s environmental goals and objectives.