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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

New native coconut wine, bahalina

Two days ago, I bottled my two month old coconut wine from coconut nectar, if I may use the term interchangeably with sap, but my Agronomist friend, Mae Anne, said sap is sap and nectar is nectar. Whichever they call them, the wine started to sparkle with lesser sediments this time after those times of racking. The newly packed coconut wine, we locally call "bahalina," comes in two distinct tastes. One carries the taste and aroma of grapes with grape extracts integrated in the sap during fermentation while the other one is purely fermented with just the sap and the astringent tanbark.

I had been interested in developing the coconut wine "bahalina" not only because I am a drinker, mild drinker or a social drinker if I may say, but also since I realized that a lot of Filipino rural families rely on the business of producing cocout wine using the usual traditional techniques. Their methods had been as old as the history of the country and nothing much has changed in their practices, except the fact that the "hungot" an improvised dipper or mug from coconut shells used to scoop the coconut wine is now replaced with plastic, and the funnels used are no longer coconut shells but plastics as well. The "kawit," used as the primary collecting vessel carried by the tuba gatherers up to the coconut tree, which was used to be bamboo pole, is now made of some cut of big water pipe. Apart from these, the gathering methods, the fermentation techniques, and the packing of the finished coconut wine in plastic gallons are still the same.

Without efforts to improve the process the lowly coconut wine, "bahalina" would remain in its status as a "poor man's wine" despite the fact that it has the potential. Studies even showed that this drink contains the helpful bacteria Lactobacillus plantarum, which aids in the digestion process. It makes the product worthy of attention, and who else should be interested to develop it but a Food Technologist who cares.

As an initial sample for my own consumption I named the two products "Sankai" for the pure bahalina and "Enrico" for the grape flavored wine. Sankai is derived from the word "sangkay" meaning friend for the Visayan people. It reflects the values of friendliness among East Visayans contrary to the wrong notion that East Visayans or "Warays" in particular are troublesome. Generally, "warays" are generous and friendly. Coconut wine is a symbol of this virtue. The other one, Enrico, I personally choose since it also is one of the names of my older son, to represent an enriched wine, having the body of the grape flavor in it. The taste is like most sweet wines from grapes.

I want to say, you would really love the taste of these wines and worry not on the way it is prepared since the collection and fermentation processes used are based on improved Food Science and Technology techniques.

You can come to my house to taste it! What do you think? Just contact me.


Kittie said...

I'm French so I like wine and I sometimes go to tasting wines degustation for my job.
I have to say that I'm curious to taste coconuts wine...really curious.
Thank for the comment on my blog


Intong said...

Brod Romy, please consider me as one of your tasters to this Sankai and Enrico "bahalina". In case you pass by VSU, please bring some samples so we could have a glass or two (after that sky is the limit na... hehehe), akong bahala sa pulutan. I could not make a comment on your innovation yet. Tilaw una bago comment. Ciao...

Grace Manotoc said...

Hi will the bahalina wont taste sour when repackaged them? How did u make the enrico wine that has a grape flavour on it?

Romes Digns said...

Enrico Wine is fermented coconut sap with grape juice added. After careful ageing the wine is racked carefully then bottled. If you process it clean and the bottled sealed properly, there's no chance it will turn sour