Cuba’s Condom Wine Is Surprisingly Good And Fruity
After gaining national popularity, Cuba’s condom wine reached international fame due to its unique fermenting process. Orestes Estevez runs his family winery called ‘El Canal’ (‘The Sewer’) in Havana, Cuba, where he produces gallons of wine.
The 65-year-old winery owner has been in business since 2000, when Cuba’s communist party started allowing people to have their own private businesses. The unique wine making process behind Orestes wine starts by fillig glass jugs with grapes, ginger and hibiscus, which is a family chore.
After the fruits have been placed, a condom is placed over each glass jug, and this is what gives Orestes’ wine the nickname ‘condom wine’. There’s always a minimum of 300 jugs containing 20 litres (5.3 gallons) of wine each.
This Cuban wine focuses on fruits which are native to Cuba. During the fermentation process, the condom inflates with gas eliminated from the fermenting fruit, and Orestes can tell when the wine is ready by analyzing the condoms. Once a condom has been fully inflated and after it has started to deflate, that is a sign that the wine is ready for drinking.
‘Putting a condom on a bottle is just like with a man. It stands up, the wine is ready, and then the process is completed,’ says Orestes about his wine making process.
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Each jar of wine takes about 45 days to make and the ‘El Canal’ sells around 50 bottles a day. The price per bottle is 10 Cuban pesos (40 cents), making it a very cheap alternative to imported wines, which usually cost approximately half of the average $25 monthly wage in Cuba.
Since the US trade embargo still causes a lot of problems for Cuba, the country’s citizens have to come up with innovative ways of using and reusing the same products with different purposes.