PH's prime strawberry producer holds wine fair

By Liza Agoot

March 20, 2018, 10:07 pm

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet — To literally give the public a taste of real strawberry wine, as against synthetically flavored drinks, the town of La, Trinidad in upland Benguet province held a "Strawberry Wine Fair" on Tuesday.

The event was also aimed at promoting the town's main product--strawberry--being the country's largest producer of strawberries.

“One of the new features of the strawberry festival, one way of promoting the product, particularly in the production of local wine, is the conduct of this strawberry wine fair, which includes other wines produced from fruits in season during the off-strawberry season,” said Fely Ticbaan, municipal agriculture officer.

Ticbaan said even if the event was specifically named "strawberry wine fair", also served in the fair were other fruit wines like “bignay”, which is also produced by strawberry winemakers when the red berries are not in season.

“We would like to showcase to our consumers that this is what strawberry fruit wine looks like, and this is the taste of one that went through the proper processing procedure. This is the color produced by local winemakers and they have their markings and quality standard marks,” the town's official said.

The strawberry wine fair charged a fee of PHP100, which entitles the ticket holder to an unlimited serving of strawberry and other fruit wines, coupled with appetizers and music from local performing bands to add to the festivities.

La Trinidad Councilor Nestor Fongwan Jr., who had pushed for the activity, related that the fair was done, following the clamor from strawberry winemakers.

"It was a clamor of the legitimate strawberry winemakers to have their products showcased,” Fongwan said, pointing out the winemakers wanted the public to see and taste the difference between real flavored and synthetically flavored drinks.

It was the first time in the annual strawberry festival that such wine fair was held.

Fongwan disclosed the town's government is mulling a legislative measure for quality control in the production of strawberry wines and drinks, with the aid of the Department of Trade and Industry and the Food and Drugs Administration.

La Trinidad Vice Mayor Joseph Vivencio Marrero said pending before the municipal council is an ordinance that requires products produced in La Trinidad to have the mark of the local government for identification purposes, which would also be a measure of quality control.

“We will soon be labeling our products with the mark of La Trinidad, Benguet but we want to do it gradually to make sure that they will serve their purpose as envisioned," Marrero said. “We are trying our best to help the entrepreneurs to have the label of the town.”

La Trinidad is not only the country's prime producer of strawberries. It also holds the world record for the "biggest strawberry shortcake”. (PNA)