Ilongga Professor Fe Ganchero, a UP Diliman Master of the Arts in Teaching Chemistry graduate who is presently teaching in UPV College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Chemistry started making rose wine as a hobby since 1984. It later proved to be more than a hobby because this authentic rose wine which she named Vino Escarlata, is also health-beneficial to people.
Prof. Ganchero shares that since her field of specialization is organic chemistry, wine-making is one of the experiments required of the students. Her interest in wine-making motivated her to start her own experiment and later on, she made it as a hobby. She experimented on bignay or in Ilonggo dialect, “Bugnay” (Antidesma bunius), gumamela otherwise known as china rose, hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis Linn), passion fruit (Passiflora edulis), bika’ (local wild green grapes) and rose (rosa francofurtana inermis) where the latter was her favorite.
In 1976 to 1977 when Prof. Ganchero was studying her Master’s Degree in UP Diliman, she goes to the United States Information Service (USIS) Library, a mobile library in that university where she found the book, “The Magic of Herbs”, a book which includes wine-making. She followed and tested the procedure as written in the book and she was satisfied that the wine tasted good.
She was happy of the outcome so she continued making rose wine for her friends and most especially for her father. She reminiscingly shares, “I think it’s the rose wine which made my father live up to104 years. He had an allowance of one bottle of rose wine every month.”
Prof. Ganchero recounts the health benefits of drinking rose wine in moderation saying, “Vitamin C content is greater in rose hips than those in oranges with about 1700–2000mg per 100g in the dried product, one of the richest plant sources. Vitamin E is also found in rose hips. According to research, the anti-inflammatory effect is one of the bioactive components of roses. Laboratory tests also revealed that rose wine is non-toxic. ”
She explains that when rose is processed into wine, Vitamin C is still retained in significant percentage. Other studies show that rose wines are anti-bacterial. Rose flower has oil if petals are included which is good for the skin, as rose hips are commonly used externally in oil form to restore firmness of skin by nourishing and astringing tissue. It contains the anti-oxidant, flavonoid found in rose hips and petals. Rose hips are also used for herbal tea, jam, jelly, syrup, beverages, pies, bread, and marmalade. As an herbal remedy, rose hips are used to cure colds and influenza. The Latin binomial for this herb is Rosa laevigata. Rose hips are also attributed with the ability to prevent urinary tract and bladder infections, and assist in treating dizziness and headaches.
From 1984 until now, Prof. Ganchero makes rose wine where ever she was. She has transferred from one apartment to another but she started making wine only for her friends and family. This idea of making wine as a pastime changed when UPV Department of Chemistry was invited to exhibit on natural products experiment in chemistry which includes wines. Prof. Ganchero’s variety of wines was exhibited during the Asia Pacific’s Philippine Products Exhibit at SM Megamall’s Megatrade Center on February 2, 2002.
Among the array of wines, it was the rose wine which stands out. It spurred the interest of many visitors since it was the first time they have heard about rose wine coming from Iloilo. Many approached Prof. Ganchero and asked where they could buy the rose wine but at that time, only limited stocks were left.
When she went back to Iloilo City in May 2002, she started to add volumes of rose wine. It was then that two UPV Professors from the same college joined her in her hobby which proved to be a fruitful and fulfilling endeavour.
Together with Prof. Maria Angeles Frio and Prof. Monita Pama, they hired a friend to grow roses in Lambunao, Iloilo from 2002-2003. These UPV professors chose the town of Lambunao because they wanted to ensure that the roses are least exposed to pollution and it would guarantee to make healthy rose wine. To date, this is still the batch of roses which they are processing into wine.
At present, these three UP Ilonggo professors are still continuing their hobby of rose wine-making, which is another first for the Ilonggos.
Indeed, what started to be a hobby and leisure interest is not only beneficial to the health of those moderately drinking rose wine but this rose wine-making pioneered by an Ilonggo chemist sure did all Ilonggos proud.
Brava, Prof. Ganchero!