A nice fruity drink to sweeten Valentines Day
Vintas Reserve Pte Ltd, headquartered in Singapore, created Vintas Sapphire Premium Blueberry Wine, the first Premium Blueberry Wine to enter into the Asia Pacific region. By tapping into the knowledge of a 79-year-old winery and ever-changing technology, the winemakers have created a vibrant wine with a lot of fruit character and balance.
Their blueberries are harvested from wild blueberry farms within the Midwestern United States and only the absolute finest are chosen to be carefully produced into our blueberry wine.
In Vintas Sapphire Blueberry Wine, you can find 4 species of blueberries; Bluecrop, Marine, Patriot and the Spartan. Having several species of blueberries actually improves the flavour and adds to the consistency, and also gives the wine a nice deep shade of purple. It is extremely difficult to get the exact timing of bleberry harvest, and is one of the most crucial steps involved. Premature harvesting results in thin watery wines with low alcohol; very late harvesting may yield high-alcohol but bitter and acidic wines. Vintas winemakers have developed an eye for the blueberries though years of skills and experience.
Founder of Vintas – C Puveraasen (Puver)
C Puveraasen has over 7 years of experience in the sales industry, and came to realise the power and value of networking. His frequent networking sessions triggered his desire to learn the art of wine appreciation.
Baffled by the different depth and complexity of wine, Puver, together with Ethan, another co-founder of Vintas, started to research and learn more about the wine industry and the different types of wines. They saw the potential in introducing a unique and different kind of wine that would satisfy people’s taste buds and leave them wanting more.
After months of research and experimentation, they partnered with a winery in the USA to introduce a new blend of wine to the market; Blueberry wine. Made of 100% blueberries, Vintas Sapphire Blueberry Wine is a sweet and palatable wine that can be enjoyed by many, even the occasional wine drinker.
A Chat with Puver
Where did you get the inspiration to create blueberry wine?
Dating back from 7000 BC, the wine industry has a strong culture and long-standing history as we can all agree on. With my interest in wine, I started to research more on the rich history in winemaking and the types of wine from all around the world. Before we started Vintas, my partner Ethan and I, saw the opportunity to disrupt the market with an offering that is both unique and unconventional. We were exploring the possibility of creating a type of wine which challenges the norm by replacing the main ingredient of wine – which is traditionally grapes, with another type of fruit. Our desire to create a distinctive blend has ultimately led us to our decision in using blueberry as the main ingredient of our uniquely flavored wine. In addition, blueberry wine, being an antioxidant superfood, can provide potentially healthier compounds as compared to red and white wines.
Can wine be made with any berry or fruit? What Singapore fruit would be interesting for wine – or must it be cool climate produce?
Wine can be made from a variety of fruits – as seen by fruits like apples (ciders can be considered as Apple Wine), plums and berries such as blackberries, being produced commercially. Most other fruit wines are homemade and recipes to make them can be found online. Based on my understanding from our winery, the sugar content of the fruit is what determines if it can be made into wine. The higher the sugar content, the higher the potential of alcohol fermentation.
As for a Singapore fruit, durian is the first fruit that comes to my mind and I do believe that it is plausible to make wine out of durian. If there is a market demand and we are able to identify a suitable winemaker, I do believe Durian wines could be made commercially. Similarly, winemaking is an art as the taste of wine can vastly differ from one maker to another, enabling people like myself to be fascinated by the process of winemaking.
Vintas Sapphire blueberries are organic USA ones. Should all wine producers (grapes, fruit, mead, soil, fertiliser etc) be heading in the organic, environmentally green direction?
This direction is one that is initiated primarily by the consumers. As more consumers are concerned by the level of pesticides being used and the negative impact it has on their health, I do foresee that producers will place a greater focus on addressing these concerns. Furthermore, sustainability in vineyards are attributed to organically grown crops and it is an essential direction for winemakers to take in order to flourish in this industry. While our blueberries are grown in an organic farm, sulfites are added to our winemaking process in order to prevent oxidation.
Vintas Sapphire Blueberry Wine is a cross between a red and white wine. What are the stand out bouquets and tasting notes of the blueberry?
Vintas Sapphire carries both the bold foundations of red wine and the tantalising hints of light-bodied white wine, making it an easy drink with abundant food pairing possibilities, for example, fish, poultry, lamb, pork, cheese and dessert. Every bottle of Vintas Sapphire carries dense aromas of baked pomegranates, cranberries, and blueberries, cinnamon bark and clove reminiscent of sangria with a supple, soft, fruity medium body and a gentle honeyed blueberry finish. We have also received reviews from chefs that our blueberry wine is a sweet spot between red and white wine but in a league of its own with a multi-faceted flavour which opens numerous doors for culinary and food mixing possibilities. Vintas Sapphire is an easy to drink blueberry wine that appeals to everyone, even the non-wine drinkers.
Do sulphites affect blueberry wine as they do grape wine? What’s the best way to keep a half-open bottle of Vintas Sapphire Blueberry Wine?
Sulphites are used as an antioxidant and antimicrobial which aid in preserving the lifespan of wines. Indeed, sulphites do affect blueberry wines as well. Vintas Sapphire is best consumed chilled and consumers can keep them in the fridge once opened for over 3 to 5 days. Any longer and they will start to taste the effects of oxidation, which is not advised. For our wine, we have strategically replaced the traditional wine cork with a bottle cap that is created for ease of enjoyment. We aim for Vintas to be positioned as an easy to drink wine for every occasion.
What Singapore food would go well with Vintas Sapphire Blueberry?
Coincidentally, during National Day this year, we invited some of our customers over for a food pairing session where they had a chance to pair Vintas Sapphire with our local delights. As we are the first to bring in blueberry wine, it was truly a new experience for us. During the tasting, we ordered dishes like carrot cake, char kway teow, Hainanese chicken rice, and the most iconic of all dishes, chilli crab! To date, chilli Crab is a sure hit for all as we had prior pairing experience at Uncle Leong Seafood, one of the restaurants where customers can purchase Vintas Sapphire blueberry wine. Singaporean cuisine is generally spicy, which makes it an ideal food pairing with our wine, given that it is a medium-bodied sweet wine.
What cocktails would work well with the wine?
Vintas Sapphire is perfect for making sangria – some mixologists have even created Gin and Tonic together with blueberry wine. I have personally enjoyed the Singapore Sling made with our blueberry wine as well.
How do you relax after a hard day at work?
After a long day at work, people tend to unwind by going out for drinks at bars and restaurants and that’s where I am mostly at. While it is a more relaxing environment compared to other industries, the challenge lies in working hard to introduce our wine to potential customers and partners. Introducing a new product to the market comes with its set of barriers and the best form of satisfaction and relaxation for me is the ability to overcome barriers while growing our fan base at the same time. Apart from that, outside of work when I am not at events or meetings, I enjoy catching up with my peers over a floorball session and indulging in a good brunch.
If a young student wants to get into the wine business of producing and marketing, what advice can you give?
Entering the business world means having to face challenges and risks, and the alcohol industry has all of that and more. However, that should not be a reason for anyone to stop trying and thriving if they have a strong passion for the wine business. From my personal experience, differentiation and innovation is the special ingredient to succeed. As the industry is mostly monopolised by liquor conglomerates, it is very important to differentiate ourselves in order to have a competitive edge. At the same time, it is important to build rapport with players in the ecosystem and understand how the industry operates in order to make a difference and value add to this industry.
Photographs courtesy of Vintas Pte Ltd