Lifestyle

For the First Time, Grapes Are Being Harvested at this Vineyard Near Tagaytay

You can pick grapes, too, during the next harvest season and when travel restrictions are lifted.
IMAGE GERI
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Grape-growing in a tropical country like the Philippines isn’t new. Vineyards in La Union have allowed guests to experience picking the fruit themselves for years. 

Closer to Manila however, there’s an area that has reported success in growing the fruit. At a mixed-use residential and commercial development in Laurel, Batangas, just off the main Tagaytay road, workers have been busy harvesting baskets of grapes since the vines were planted a few years ago. Before the end of the month, developers at the Twin Lakes vineyard say they expect to harvest as many as 100 kilos of grapes in the area.

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“We have three grape variants here at the vineyard: the Catawba grapes, the Brazilian hybrid, and the Red Cardinals,” says Efren Magpantay, an agriculturist working for Global-Estate Resorts, Inc.’s (GERI) 1,200-hectare Twin Lakes property, which owns the vineyard. “Since March, we have been harvesting these grapes from a portion of the vineyard and now we are close to reaching our target as the lone harvest cycle concludes in a few weeks.”

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Photo by GERI.
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According to Magpantay, the secret to achieving the perfect sweetness for the grapes lies in perfect timing. “You need to know how to make the plant adapt perfectly to the environment. Unlike other places in the country like La Union, General Santos City, and Davao where grapes are grown, here it tends to get really cold during the latter part of the year. You have to be able to help the grapes adjust to ensure that it rewards you with the best and high-quality harvest possible.”

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According to GERI, harvest season in the vineyard started in March, weeks before several parts of the country were put under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ). The vineyard served as home to some of the workers who stayed in their quarters during the lockdown, isolated from the rest of the community. They resumed harvest when Region 4-A (Calabarzon) was placed under general community quarantine in June. 

Photo by GERI.
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Visitors to Tagaytay still need to obtain a travel pass, but when travel restrictions are lifted, GERI officials say people will be able to visit the vineyards themselves and pick grapes for a small fee during the next harvest season, which will happen in March and April next year. Twin Lakes Hotel is also gearing up to resume operations soon. There are even plans to put up a winery at the vineyard.

For now, the harvested grapes are being used by the hotel to develop more dishes for their all-day dining restaurant, Twin Lakes Café. The rest of the bunch are being delivered to the doorsteps of residents of The Vineyard Residences.

Photo by GERI.
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“What makes the Twin Lakes vineyard unique is the fact that you get to pick your grapes while being surrounded by beautiful scenery,” says Monica T. Salomon, GERI president. “This is the only one of its kind along the entire Tagaytay-Nasugbu ridge. Here, you have unobstructed views of a naturally lush landscape and the world-famous Taal Volcano, while the majestic façade of the Twin Lakes Hotel and the rest of the community looms ahead of you,”

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Paul John Caña
Associate Editor, Esquire Philippines
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