One interesting question Yeison asked my great-uncle was, “What’s Taiwan really good at? What are they known for?” If you haven’t heard much about Taiwan before, well first I’m surprised and second, you will. Taiwan is a dominating player in the technology world (ever hear of HTC or Asus?) and their economy is strong. But what is that one thing they are known for? It’s hard to pin it on just one product and my uncle’s response was perfect. Everything he said. Taiwan is strong in nearly all fronts.
But one thing I did not know was that Taiwan produced excellent beer and wine. In fact, their Taiwan beer is so good it has won medals and is recognized as the best selling and most recognizable brand in Taiwan’s market and their whiskey has recently been named as best in the world.
If you’re interested in dabbling in Taiwan’s wine and beer culture, head to one winery that is known for producing the highest quality Shaosing Rice wine, the Puli Wine Factory. Puli Wine Factory is located in Nantou county with clean sweet water and excellent weather conditions which allows it to produce this specific type of rice wine. Interestingly enough, Puli is known for the 4 four W’s – wine, women, water and weather!
Puli Wine Factory
When we went to Puli, I thought it was to tour a beer or wine factory like the one I went to in Washington, Chateau Ste. Michelle but it was quite different. You don’t actually get to go inside and see how the whole process is done but they do have a museum, gallery and displays where you can learn all about their prized wine.
Puli is more of a tourist attraction but they have a lot of great souvenirs and Taiwanese snacks and foods you can try. You can even buy one of the beautifully hand painted vases or jugs (priced up to $1000 USD). In the area with all the stalls, you can sample their wines and bourbon to see which one you like the best.
Yeison and I went through the museum which is steeped with history. You can learn all about the importance and significance of beer and wine in Taiwanese culture dating back to hundreds of years ago. It was fascinating to learn about Taiwan’s perspective of alcohol and the traditions such as when a family gives birth to a boy, they put a jug in the cellar and open it when he gets married.
There is an area where you can see the jugs they used to use to store the wine. When we went through this area, you can try and pick up one of the carrying poles with jugs on either end. A group of Chinese tourists proceeded to badger Yeison to pick up the stick so they could take a picture of him. He was a celebrity!
In the food stall area, some of the things you can try are the Taiwan tea eggs, ramen, sugar cane, lots of duck parts, different sauces, snacks and other local products. I highly recommend buying some of the goods so you can get a taste for some of the favorite snacks in Taiwan.
Although you don’t get to see how they make their wine, Puli Wine Factory still makes for an interesting day out when you’re exploring Taiwan. The best part is sampling the different alcohols and snacks they have!
Puli Wine Factory Location
Tips for Visiting the Puli Wine Factory
- You don’t need to be 18 (legal drinking age in Taiwan) to enter but have your ID just in case they ask for it when you sample the drinks
- Bring lots of NT! There are some very interesting things to buy to bring back home especially if you’re interested in wine/beer. It makes for a great souvenir with the beautiful painted jugs and bottles
- Consider renting a car or going with a tour group when visiting the wine factory. There is the Nantou Bus or the Kuo-Khang bus company that goes from Taichung and Taipei but it is not very often and it’s a 3.5 hour drive from Taipei
- Please be smart, don’t drink and drive.
Want to read about other Taiwan adventures? Here you go!