We've covered pretty much most of the international region when it comes to wines and now it's time for us to go local. You've seen it in supermarkets, along roadside stalls, and even in your local palengke: our local version of wine. You may have even knocked back a glass or two in your province amidst your tagay sessions.
Given that wine grapes aren't naturally available, our version is often made of backyard fruits to more inventive ones such as coffee. For some areas, local wines also reflect the region's history and culture. In this article, we will take you on a tour on wines, a simple pulutan to go with it, and our recommended top 10 local wines.
Wine is an alcoholic beverage that is usually made from fermented grape juice though it should be noted that any fruit can be made into wine as we have previously mentioned.
The Philippines is not a wine producing country, at least not in the traditional sense. Of course, that’s not to say we don’t produce it. We do, just not a considerable amount enough to make a significant impact unlike say, coffee.
With that being said, the country does have its fair share of wineries, though it mostly specializes in local fruits grown in the country, native fruits, as some may call it along with a few ingenious innovations to iconic staples such as rice and coconut.
Given our uncanny ability for innovation, it is understandable to hear of quite the variety of local wines. That is why we have prepared a buying guide to run you through them.
The good thing about native fruits is that it is found nearly everywhere in our country. Some regions even have a specialty product of their own whether due to the natural abundance of the product or part of their culture.
Wine grapes may not be conducive in our country’s tropical climate, but Filipinos have found a way to make local fruits into wine all the same. Small-scale industries and villages often have their fair share of local wine made from native fruits.
Filipinos are not wine drinkers, partly because we do not like the taste, which can be described as mapait and mapakla. Often, we have innovated products to fit our tastes. Such is the case of the Italian spaghetti, in which we have tweaked it to make it more appealing to our preference. The same goes for wine.
In the absence of natural grapes, we have made use of local fruits found nearly everywhere in the country such as mangoes, mangosteen, guyabano, and duhat. We have even managed to get creative with not so native fruits such as strawberries from Benguet.
Tapuy or Tapuey is the local name for rice wine. It is similar to sake in Japan and makgeolli in Korea. It is a traditional alcoholic beverage made from steamed glutinous red or white rice and letting them ferment in clay jars.
It has its origins in the Cordilleras where it is usually used as a ceremonial wine for weddings and other festivities, it is even used as an ingredient in marinades, sauces, and cooking. It is said to be similar in taste to whiskey and has a lingering alcohol taste.
The Department of Science and Technology – Industrial Technology Development Institute (DOST-ITDI) had even standardized a wine starter, bubod. It is a type of wine yeast to improve the quality of tapuy, which increases its yield and alcohol content.
Filipinos have been drinking basi or sugarcane wine even before the Spanish colonization. It has its roots in the Ilocos region where it is made by boiling extracted sugarcane juice where it is then cooled in clay jars and added flavorings such as glutinous rice before it is left to ferment for years.
Basi production varies from industries to local cooperatives. In fact in the Ilocos region you could even find unbranded bottles sold in the market the same way you could find unbranded patis peddled everywhere in Pangasinan.
It is noted to have a sweet and sour flavor with a hint of bitterness. Fun fact; there had been a basi revolt in 1807 as a result of the Spanish government’s monopoly of the wine, which led to the locals uprising in protest.
The Philippines is one of the largest producers of coconut, particularly in the Visayas and Southern Tagalog regions. Filipinos have utilized its use from cooking oil to wine. And when we think of coconut wine, tuba and lambanog often come to mind especially when it comes to local inuman in the provinces.
Tuba is made from the sap of coconut or other types of palm trees. It is sometimes mixed with the bark of the mangrove tree, which explains its reddish color. Harvesters climb coconut trees where they collect the sap and have it fermented.
Lambanog, sometimes dubbed as the Philippine vodka due to its clear color is made from fermented and distilled coconut sap. The distillation process distinguishes it from tuba. It contains a high alcohol content at 40 – 45% ABV and if done incorrectly, could be poisonous due to its methanol content.
As a coffee drinking country, it should be no surprise that coffee would find its way into wine production given how innovative Filipinos are. After all, we mass-produce Arabica beans for a reason. Similar to other types of wine coffee wine undergoes a fermentation process which takes around 6 months.
Another noteworthy source of wine is cacao. The country is no stranger to cacao products such as tablea and chocolate and recently tried its hand at cacao wine as part of the CALABARZON government’s cacao commercialization in areas like Laguna and Quezon.
The percentage of alcohol is expressed in alcohol by volume or ABV; however, you might come across the term alcohol proof instead. This just means that it is twice the amount of the ABV. If a bottle says it is 80 proof, then it has 40% ABV.
Wines, in general, have a pretty drinkable range of ABV at 5% - 20%. But our local wines can get pretty potent, too, particularly the lambanog, with some coming in at 40%. So, you should take it easy topping up your drink because the alcohol can hit you pretty fast.
This is because plastic containers can sometimes leach off dangerous chemicals if stored for a long time and alcohol could break down the plastic in the long run. Glass has also been noted to store alcohols better than plastic where spirits are more likely to go off.
Here are the best local wines our country has to offer. No need to leave the house to purchase them. You can do it in the comfort of your own home.
|Source Material||Black Plum|
|Region||Muntinlupa, Batangas, Laguna|
|Source Material||Cacao Beans|
|Source Material||Barako Coffee Beans|
Dielle's Apiary and Meadery
Merci Fruit Wine
Extra Premium Lambanog Bronze
Vigan Basi Wine
Tapuey From Adams
Melomel Black Plum Wine
Liqueur de Cacao
Tropical Coconut Wine
Barako Coffee Liqueur
Reinventing the Humble Coconut Liquor
The Wine That Started a Revolt
Showcasing Filipino Heritage One Drink at a Time
Cleanse Your Palate with Refreshing Plum Wine
Switch Up Your Noche Buena with Bignay Wine
Warm Your Holidays with Boozy Chocolate Liqueur
Experience Tropical Paradise with Coconut Wine
Stimulate Your Senses with Intense Coffee Liqueur
Fruity With the Right Hint of Sweetness
Get Your Fix of Antioxidants in a Bottle
|Price Starts at||₱1,860||₱612||₱400||₱350||₱385||₱1,633||₱240||₱300||₱369|
|Source Material||Coconut||Sugarcane||Rice||Black Plum||Bignay||Cacao Beans||Coconut||Barako Coffee Beans||Strawberry||Guyabano|
|Region||-||-||Ilocos Norte||Muntinlupa, Batangas, Laguna||Laguna||-||-||Batangas||Cordillera||Cagayan Valley|
|Volume||750 ml||650 ml||800 ml||375 ml||750 ml||700 ml||750 ml||150 ml||750 ml||750 ml|
Social gatherings are always a fun affair for us Filipinos. It is nice to know that despite the pandemic, we can still connect with friends and family through video calls! This Adobong Mani recipe is the perfect partner for those e-numan sessions.
No need to search far and wide for local products. These local pantry staples are worth looking into and they can be bought in the comfort of your own home.
Filipinos' innovation, adaptability, and culture can be reflected in local wines. We are able to make use of local ingredients readily available and grown in the country. We may not be the first to produce wine, but we are sure able to make it into something we can all our own. Tagay!
Author: J. Cuizon
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