MORE than two years after seeing the potentials of some local fruits for wine making, Dr. Luz A. Taposok's products are now gaining ground in the mainstream market.

Taposok, a professor of the College of Agriculture at the University of Southern Mindanao in Kabacan, North Cotabato, has so far come up with a total of 25 new flavors made from fruits locally grown in the regions of Mindanao.

Among the most popular of these are mangosteen, passion fruit, and mango variants. Other fruit flavors include banana, dragon fruit, durian, guyabano, jackfruit, lemon, marang, passion fruit, pineapple, and watermelon.

She said all the wines are natural, which take usually several months of fermentation process before they can be consumed.

"We want to make use of our tropical fruits, instead of grapes," Taposok, owner of CT South Tropics, said.

She and husband Omer, who is also a university professor used to own few hectares of farm in Kidapawan and the produce is what they use for wine making. Other fruits are being sourced from neighboring provinces.

She shared that she got her first hand on wine making for six months during her one-year scholarship study in the United States.

When she returned home, the couple tested the waters in winery.

"Just to make use of our resources, nag-invest kami on wines, fruits are from our farm and from the neighboring farms. So, instead of selling them fresh, we process them into wine," she said.

Taposok is joining trade fairs to showcase her wines. Her products will be made available in the malls here in Davao City sometime next year.

She said she only uses top quality wine yeast imported straight from Australia to ferment the fruits into premium wines while the alcohol is naturally derived from the fruit itself.

She also took pride of CT South Tropics' herb and vegetable flavors such as calabash, carrot, and turmeric. These variants are good for those with explorative palates.

"All these are natural and organic. Hindi ito ginagamitan ng fertilizer," she said.

CT South Tropics is currently testing malunggay leaves' viability for wine making for those who believe in the herb's medicinal powers.

As the winery grows, Taposok's only hope is to eventually help farmers earn a better living by giving them the right price for their produce.

"We want to help our farmers not only in Cotabato but also in the whole Mindanao. Kung may market na, we can contract buying from farmers. Mabigyan ng livelihood ang mga tao and those people who grow this will be given the right price for their products," she said.