One would typically not see Burma, sticky, tropical and hot, as an ideal and suitable country for growing wine grapes. But, there are many such locations, particularly in northern and central Burma at high altitudes, where the climate and soil are suitable for growing grapes for quality wine. North Carolina’s The News & Observer, in its article “Myanmar winery takes leap forward” states that Aythaya (perhaps a spelling error, as the Thai kingdom is known as Ayuthaya and Thailand is known as Yodaya in Burmese Transliteration of Ayetharyar, a placename), run by a German national, is “Myanmar’s first winery.” Although Burma is a majority Buddhist country and Buddhism officially prohibits intoxicants in the Five Precepts, this precept is not strictly followed. Although I am no expert in wine nor am I legally able to drink alcohol, the introduction of the winery business is interesting and possibly lucrative. A large part of the opium grown on the Shan plateau fits the climate necessary to create good wine and this could possibly be a good alternative crop.
Interestingly enough, the Burmese word for ‘grape’, za byit, is an Arabic loanword (zabib).