With my colleagues from The Ilocandia Photographic Society (TIPS), we truly had a different kind of wine experience in Adams. Just imagine that early in the morning we started drinking rice wine when we visited the winery of Lola Ingga. An elderly woman clad in a traditional wear. She had been into winemaking for over 40 years. She explained to us the procedure of making, fermenting and refining tapuey or rice wine. She mentioned that freshly cooked rice is being used. Dry it in a bilao then transferred to a banana leaf then to an earthenware jar. She has many of this to ferment rice wine. She basically mixed the rice with yeast. She put in a cylindrical bamboo tube to separate the liquid from the rice which is easy to scoop from after its fermentation. The jar has to be sealed thoroughly and shall not be opened to ensure proper fermentation.
Rice wine is an alcoholic beverage made from rice by way of fermentation of rice starch converted to sugars. This is closely similar to brewing beer but this uses amylolytic process. Tapuey in Ilocano dialect is fermented from six months to two years depending on the desired strength. Tapuey is similar to sake of Japan and maotai of China.
The different ethnic tribes of Adams such as the Bago, Imallod, Kankanaey, Yapayao and Ilocano have engaged into winemaking. Practically all households make wine for their own consumption, for their guests to try or for business. Because of abundance of materials such as the wide variety of fruits seen in the town, they simply considered and turned these into fruit wines. I was amazed to find out that all kinds of fruits can be made into wine.
At Lyns place, we were offered to drink the red berries wine which she actually formulated. This is intended for her guests only. I find the taste of her wine just so good, and not so sweet. While at Dr Biel’s winery, I tried the santol, passion fruit and of course the common wine that is wild blackberry or bugnay. She also made vinegar out of bugnay. Pineapple, banana, mango,duhat, assem and rattan are also made into wine. They want to promote wine drinking as part of their healthy lifestyle just like the Westerners. They also want to promote tourism as well make business out of it. The price of a bottle ranges from Php100-200.
This wine tasting is one great activity that travelers and guests to Adams should not forget to try. Kampai and gan bei!