I got really drunk on wines without grapes

philippines local fruit wine non-grape soursop guyabano mangosteen bugnay bignay sommelier review

Have you tried wines without grapes? Collage: VICE / Images: Romano Santos

In the list of the best wine-producing countries, my archipelago does not appear there. This is given, in part, by the simple fact that wine grapes does not grow easily in the Philippines. But that hasn’t stopped Filipinos from making alcoholic drinks with fruits that To do grow up in the country.

Whether alcoholic beverages made from things that aren’t grapes should be considered “wine” depends on your level of interest. Some say the term “wine” is reserved only for alcoholic beverages made from fermented grapes. Others say alcoholic beverages made from things other than grapes (such as fruits, vegetables, flowers and herbs) are called “vins de pays”. There is also the more specific term, “fruit wine”, which grape wines would be technically falls underbut I don’t really want to get into that.

Me, my dear friends, I just want to drink. And the three bottles of grapeless wine from the Philippines in front of me want to be drunk. Why would anyone drink wines without grapes? Because we can! Why am I drinking these three in particular? Because they were both interesting and available, which I can’t say about some of you.

As an added challenge, I wanted to see how many glasses I could drink to get drunk properly. Most of these wines had alcohol percentages well above average – 14 percent instead of the usual 11.6 (wines range from 5.5% to 15%) – so I’ve also included a handy alcohol meter.

Before pouring my first drink, a few warnings: This is not an exhaustive list. There are of course other Filipino wines. Also, I’m not a sommelier. But I have taste, I think.

soursop wine

philippines local wine no soursop grape guyabano mangosteen bugnay bignay sommelier review

Soursop wine. Photo: Romano Santos

This wine is made from soursop, a fruit known as guyabano in the Philippines, and is the first of two wines I have uploaded. They were among the top results of my fancy search for “Filipino wine” on an e-commerce app, so I added them to my cart after zero critical thought. This soursop is also the only “white” of the three I’ve tried, although it’s not exactly white the way white wine is white. It’s more of a beer yellow. It also smelled strong, but drink it, I did.

The drink had the consistency of canned mango juice doused in hard liquor, then served before any kind of shaking or shaking. That’s also how it tasted. At first, it was sweet like fruit juice, and unlike soursop which is, uh, sour. Then the fruitiness suddenly gave way to the taste of strong alcohol, although I’m not sure which one.

I didn’t have to drink much since it’s 14 percent alcohol. I hadn’t eaten for a few hours, so I was already feeling a little tipsy, only almost at the end of my first drink.


Drunk meter: 3/10

mangosteen wine

philippines local wine no soursop grape guyabano mangosteen bugnay bignay sommelier review

Maybe this mangosteen wine will work in a sangria? Photo: Romano Santos

I love mangosteen so I was excited for this one. It also looked more promising, with a rich, dark red that’s not unlike a nice Merlot, or whatever.

I may not have the vocabulary to describe this wine, but it tasted the same fruit juice with liqueur as soursop wine except the fruit juice part tasted like cranberry instead of mango.

The wine also contained 14% alcohol, so I felt pretty good after drinking quite a bit. So good I thought this mangosteen might work in some kind of sangria.

Fun Drinking Game Idea: Try to describe what you are tasting. This will make you drink more and faster.

Drunk meter: 6/10

Bugnay wine

philippines local wine no soursop grape guyabano mangosteen bugnay bignay sommelier review

The third wine is charm. Photo: Romano Santos

Full disclosure: I got this bottle from a friend. A friend who taught me, among other things, taste and honesty, so I’m not about to lie in his favor. I’m also almost drunk, and a drunken mind speaks of a sober heart.

Bugnay (aka bignay), is a common wild berry in the mountainous provinces of the Philippines. On the color side, it did not look like a red wine. He even had legs, which slowly flowed over the glass. But I don’t really know what that means for wines without grapes.

Voila, this one did not feel the challenge, but a prune invitation. It was a bit runny in consistency, but delicious and even bold in flavor. There were fruity notes, but not in any kind of fruit juice. More in the sense of wine. It also seemed more seamless. As the alcohol was inherent in the liquid instead of being separated from it. It’s not something I ever had to think about with wine, really, but it’s important to say it now. TL;DR: It was good.

I’m not sure what percentage of alcohol that is, but I can tell you how drunk I am, absolutely.

And I pour another drink. Cheers!

Drunk meter: 8/10

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About Michael Brafford

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