The Associated Press reports that Orestes Estevez, 65, runs a successful winery with his family despite Cuba’s disorganized economy and also, the U.S. trade embargo, which makes thousands of products almost impossible to get on the island.
After decades, Cuba’s “El Canal” winery has finally become a huge success.
Esteves had a full career in the military as well as in security services, but it’s his wine-making that has everyone talking. Created illicitly, “El Canal” went legit in 2000 as communist Cuba began taking steps toward private enterprise according to AP. Since then, it’s produced thousands of gallons of flavored wine every year.
For years, this family wine business struggled to reach their goals.
Orestes’ wife and son work with an assistant to maintain 300 jugs apiece. Each contains 5 gallons of soon-to-be wine. It can take about a month to make a single jar of wine, but once ready, they go for 10 Cuban pesos (40 cents).
The U.S. trade embargo forced many businesses to make do with what they have.
Necessity is the mother of invention, so many Cubans have learning “to make do with what they have.”
Apparently, what they have is rubbers.
Cuban professionals continue to improvise wherever they can. Fishermen create makeshift floats to carry bait, and in the case of Estevez’s winery, condoms are used help with the fermentation process.
The fermentation process looks like a sex-ed demonstration for how to use protection, but it’s actually brilliant.
As reported by AP, the bottle tops are covered with condoms that inflate as the fermentation process produces gases. When the condoms stop filling up, they’re done, and when they fall, Estevez knows the wine is finally ready to be bottled up.