What wines do Filipinos drink? 2
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Food & Drink

What wines do Pinoys drink? One of the largest online wine sellers paints us a picture

We don’t appear to be choosy about styles, varieties when shopping for sparkling wine on a budget of under P1,500
Patricia Chong | Dec 11 2022

Much has been said about what Filipinos enjoy eating and drinking – that we like everything either sweet (see: Pinoy spaghetti and tocino) or sour (see: sinigang and kinilaw), with absolutely no in-between.

But, at the end of a year where absolutely everyone is in dire need of alcohol, how does this translate to the ordinary Filipino’s taste for wine? You can argue that the answer lies in numbers – particularly, numbers that reflect what Filipinos actually buy.

“The Philippine market for wine is still young and growing,” says Chris Urbano, Managing Director of Winery.ph, which claims to be the country’s largest online wine marketplace. “And because we’re all about Vino for the Filipino, we try to paint a real, data-based picture of the Filipino palate – which is how our Kavino Choice Awards and its corresponding 12.12 Sale featuring awardees came about.”

The Kavino Choice Awards is Winery.ph’s recognition of its top-selling wines of the year, as backed by gross sales data of purchases by real customers. With over 2,000 wines available in its roster, it seems a collection big enough to cater to a variety of preferences and to ensure customers can actually choose what they really want.

Urbano adds, “This is the third year we’re holding these awards, and we have picked up a lot of fascinating insights on what wines Filipinos actually love enough to buy – as well as interesting trends from different years”

So what do Filipinos actually like? You can find the full list of 2022’s bestselling wines on the Winery.ph website, but Urbano shares his own insights:

Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc
Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc

New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc

The punchier, more tropical style of Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, New Zealand is a hit with Filipinos – to the point that it could easily be the most popular white wine in the country.

“This year marks the first time that half of our top 12 white wines under P1,500 was specifically Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand,” says Urbano. “We’ve watched its popularity steadily grow over the years. I believe the appeal is in its great value and that it’s very fruity and intense, making it a great wine to pair with food. Given that restrictions are looser, it could also be a reflection of how Filipinos are dining with friends and family more this year – a good reason to open a bottle that’s safe enough for everyone to enjoy.”

Duckhorn Cabernet Sauvignon
Duckhorn Cabernet Sauvignon

The most popular New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs across all price brackets include those by Marlborough wineries Cloudy Bay, Matua Valley, Dog Point, Wild Rock, Spy Valley, Greywacke, and Mayfly. The only top-selling bottle of this variety that didn’t come from New Zealand came from renowned Napa Valley, California winery Duckhorn.


Grenache Rosé

“One interesting thing we’ve noticed about our top-selling rosés this year was that nearly all of them were made of Grenache,” says Urbano. The list is led by Minuty M Rosé and cult favorite Château d'Esclans Whispering Angel, both from Provence, France. But the rest of it – which includes rosés from wineries like Torres Vina from Spain, Beach House from South Africa, and Chateau Croix de Labrie in Bordeaux – bounces through different regions, all of them made with the same grape.

Torres Vina Esmeralda Rosé
Torres Vina Esmeralda Rosé

“Rosé made from Grenache tends to be fruity, zesty, and summery,” explains Urbano. “They’re a great match for hot days, which the Philippines definitely has a lot of – just one unique way that our climate can influence what we drink.”


Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay

Because of its great value and natural match with tapas nights, Spanish Tempranillo (see: Matsu El Picaro and Beronia Rioja Reserva) has long had a chokehold on the ordinary Filipino wine drinker. This year, however, the Napa Valley’s ripe, juicy, yet complex Cabernet Sauvignon is becoming the red wine of choice for special occasions.

Premium Whites  Beringer Private Reserve Chardonnay
Beringer Private Reserve Chardonnay

“If you’re shelling out on a bottle of wine in a year full of price hikes, you want assurance that your wine is good,” explains Urbano. “Napa Valley, California is home to many world-famous wineries that made their name with Cabernet Sauvignon. Pra Vinera topped our bestselling reds under P1,500. And when we start looking at the premium segment, our top two red wines were Cab Sauvs from two of the region’s most iconic wineries: Duckhorn and Cakebread Cellars.”

Bread and Butter Chardonnay
Bread and Butter Chardonnay

The interest in high-profile Napa Valley wineries persists even in white wine, with Bread and Butter’s signature Chardonnay and Beringer’s Private Reserve Chardonnay part of the top wines of the premium segment. Duckhorn is represented again here with its Decoy Sauvignon Blanc.


Champagne – lots of it

“Without fail over the past years, Champagne just explodes in popularity around December,” says Urbano. “It’s to the point that many places that sell wine simply can’t stock enough of it, and that’s a testament to how Champagne has become synonymous with celebrations.”

Despite its P3,000 minimum price tag, this is one wine that Filipinos are willing to spend for – particularly from Champagne houses such as Moet et Chandon and Perrier Jouet.

Gustave Lorentz Crémant d_Alsace Brut NV
Gustave Lorentz Crémant d'Alsace 

Interestingly, however, Filipinos don’t appear to be particularly choosy about styles and varieties when shopping for sparkling wine on a tighter budget of under P1,500.

“Chandon Brut, from Moet et Chandon’s line of everyday sparkling wine, is understandably at the top here,” says Urbano. “But it’s a free-for-all in terms of variety after that – you have, for instance Gustave Lorentz’s Cremant d’Alsace, and Chrismont’s Prosecco, and Massolino Moscato d’Asti. It might be that the primary reason for buying sparkling wine is that they are, well, sparkling. There is a real willingness to experiment with alternatives in this category.”


What kind of wines do Filipinos enjoy drinking?

Trends come and go, changing slightly through the years, but there is a common thread that Urbano and Winery.ph’s Kavino Choice Awards have seen over the years that offer a clearer picture of the Filipinos’ emerging palate for wine.

“We’ve seen over the years that Filipinos generally enjoy juicy, fruit-forward wine,” adds Urbano. “They like intense, ripe flavors – meaning that we also lean more towards New World regions like California and Marlborough that tend to produce wine of that profile.”

Chrismont Riesling
Chrismont Riesling

But in monitoring these trends, it also helps to look at the outliers that show Filipinos are beginning to experiment more – to some success. Urbano gives an example: “We may have talked about Sauvignon Blanc dominating, but the top-selling white wine under P1,500 was actually a Riesling – Chrismont Riesling from Australia. Charles Smith’s ‘Kung Fu Girl’ Riesling is also one of the few bottles from this year that managed to keep its place in that category. And that tells us that Filipinos are discovering that Riesling is actually an interesting, equally aromatic alternative to the usual Sauv Blanc.”

The same goes in the rise of more adventurous, savory choices in red wines like Carignan, Sangiovese, and Malbec, which climbed the ranks alongside even more obscure Italian native grape varieties like Amarone and Barolo Nebbiolo.

“There is a real baseline for what many Filipinos tend to enjoy,” says Urbano. “But what’s most exciting are these signs that we are broadening our horizons more and more every year.”

This year’s Kavino Choice Awardees will be featured in bundles at Winery.ph’s 12.12 Sale, which runs from December 12 to 13, 2022. Winery.ph will also be opening its doors for customers to browse wines and get sommelier recommendations from December 13 to 23, 2022. Get updates and wine drinking tips by following Winery.ph on Facebook and Instagram (@winery.ph) — and for even more great deals on your favorite wines, visit www.winery.ph.