A Goan sans his wines, sounds incredulous right? Indeed. After all, Goans are known to love their wines - Vinicola Port Wine, San Andre, Port No. 7, have always been household names. Known as the ‘Lady’s Drink’, wine is equally popular amongst men as well, especially on occasions like weddings, local feasts or Christmas.
The array of wines in Goa, complement its versatile cuisine and are affordable, easy-to-drink and frankly taste different, with the sea breeze and the swaying palms.
Many families in Salcette, Bardez and Tisvadi in Goa produce wines. However, grapes are not the only fruit used in Goa for making wines. This state has an abundance of fruits in summer which are amply put to use. Santanse Wines by banker turned wine-maker, Anselm Mascarhenas, made using local fruits, stand out and bear ample testimony to his creativity. His range of homemade wines are sweet or semi-sweet and not harsh, or dry like readymade wines.
Named after his wife, Santan, Santanse Wines are brewed in his backyard in Parra, North Goa and are affordably priced between Rs. 400-500 per 750 ml bottle. He even sells these wines from his home, apart from supplying small quantities to a few stores. Being natural fruit wines with no added alcohol, the wines are extremely popular with men and women alike, as the only alcohol (3-5%) is generated from the fruit.
With no formal training in wine making, about 40 years ago, Anselm Mascarhenas received a recipe for grape wine from his maternal uncle. “I tried the recipe with few kilos of grapes and were successful in making grape wine. We were thrilled and started making grape wine for friends and relatives. There was a good response for our wine, we got encouraged and decided to make grape, jambul and ginger wine,” gushes Mascarhenas animatedly. It was post his retirement in 2008, that he took a full-fledged plunge.
The unstoppable septuagenarian has made wines from mushrooms to oranges, tomatoes, amla, tender coconut, jambul and ginger- the most unlikely of ingredients. His creativity and perseverance know no bounds. No taking shortcuts for him either and he faithfully follows his five-stage winemaking process. He elaborates, “The first stage is extraction of fruit pulp. This is followed by fermentation. After that, sedimentation takes place and then filtration. For clarification, clarifying agents like porous pieces of clay, a handful of wheat (which is sticky and acts as a sponge) or a lightly-beaten egg white are used, as these attract impurities. After clarification, the wines are bottled and are ready for consumption. “The first four stages take 21 days and stage five takes three months.”
Simple domestic equipment and negligible use of machinery, is what he prefers. “It is a manual process. If we use advanced machinery, the wine quality is affected, which we never want to compromise on. Fermentation Jars, drums, filtration Jars and storage drums, are all that is needed,” he informs.
The pandemic may have taken a toll on his business, but his spirit is indefatigable. He is working on wines for diabetics with stevia and jambul, apart from new additions like khus and watermelon. He is also excited about a choco liqueur that he has developed.
He is hopeful that once the pandemic settles down, on-ground events and exhibitions will resume, as after all, these are his primary source of business. “I rely on word-of-mouth publicity,“ he states simply. He is also looking forward to his overseas regular clients travelling to Goa and buying in large numbers to take back with them. Until then, he is busy with his research and development.
Anselm Mascarenhas can be contacted at 9049488051 to purchase Santanse fruit wines.