One of a proudly Filipino product is the first mango wine in the world, Don Roberto’s Mango Wine. Fairly new in the market and available initially in selected wine stores, Don Roberto’s Mango Wine comes in two variants – sweet mango wine and green mango wine. Both variants are made from carefully selected, processed and fermented mangoes; both products of countless experimentation efforts by Roberto ‘Oby’ Castaňeda, founder of Don Roberto’s Winery. He never thought he would discover the first mango wine in the world. His brush with fate came when he did charity work for a religious order of Belgian nuns in Baguio City in 1999. He wrote, composed and directed a musical stage play for the Belgian nun that was shown as a vocation campaign in the whole of the Cordillera. It was in one of the convents that he got hold of guava, cherry and strawberry wines, which he found interesting. “So I asked the Belgian founders if they could teach me how to make fruit wines, and the Mother Superior told me that, yes, they were sharing their secret recipe with me if I promise that I would not share it with anybody else’s,” Castaňeda recalls. Thus, the secret fruit wine recipe was handed down to him.
After the play ended and he went back home in Imus, Castaňeda began seriously considering going into wine-making for business. Determined on keeping his promise to the Belgian nuns, he chose to make mango wine. After all, mangoes are plentiful in the country and the Philippines are known for its delicious mangoes. He tried using mangoes in the original fruit wine recipe that he got from the Belgian nuns, but it did not work. He made several adjustments, experimenting with a number of combinations, until he got the right formula – detailed down to the tiny mango bits that have been purposely included to keep the raw and authentic mango wine favor. But before making business out of his mango wine, he went back to Baguio to ask the permission of the Belgian nuns.
“They told me there was no need for their permission since it’s an entirely different recipe that I come up with for my mango wine” Castaňeda says. “I promised them that for every bottle of mango wine that is sold, 10% will go to them.” All systems go; he designed a bottle for the wine and had a friend, who owns a labeling company, and do his label for him. He set up a winery in Imus, Cavite, and in December, 2001, he formally launched Don Roberto’s Green Mango Wine and Don Roberto’s Sweet (Yellow) Mango Wine available in 750 ml. and 75 cl. bottle containing 12.5% alcohol, A blend of Western tradition and Eastern bounty, Don Roberto’s Mango Wine has an exquisite, exotic smooth taste that captivates.