Did You Know You Can Pick Grapes In La Union?
Most people think grape vines can only be found in dreamy locations like Napa or the South of France. But there’s actually a vineyard closer to us than we think, although the grapes here are not used for winemaking. It is located in one of the country’s hottest summer destination: La Union, or eLyU to the younger set.
A mere three-and-a-half hour drive from Manila, the Gapuz Grapes Farm has been around for about three decades now. Situated in the town of Bauang, it is run by the Gapuz siblings, Dang and Danny, along with other family members. Four years ago, they opened a portion of their farmland to the public especially for grape-picking.
Dang and Danny’s grandfather, an agriculturalist, studied how to grow grapes in the U.S. and brought his knowledge back home to his own farm. When he saw it had potential, he shared his know-how to his niece, the mother of Dang, and gave her some seedlings for planting. The results were similarly successful.
Contrary to popular belief, tropical weather is conducive to growing grapes. In fact, even rooftops can be a good place to grow them. “Grapes just want to be on elevated land,” shares Danny. “During the summer they want to be constantly watered, but in the rainy season, we don’t need to water as much. We just need to give them medicine because plants get all kinds of sickness when it rains.”
The Gapuz family has perfected growing their grapes into the sweet globes they are now, and patrons of the Pick and Pay activity will be pleased with not just the novelty of harvesting their own grapes, but also with the quality of the harvest itself.
Here are some tips before you visit the farm.
Wear comfy but still OOTD-friendly clothes.
The scenery is not just ripe for harvesting, but also for taking loads of pictures. Each aisle and corner of the farm can be a good place to snap that perfect shot.
Wear shoes you wouldn’t mind getting dirty
This May, the soil was thick and muddy, and while it’s not mushy enough that your entire foot will sink, there will be soil on your footwear. Wear rubber shoes or slippers that are easy to clean.
Bring friends and family
Good grapes is best shared with good company. It’s not very often we find our city-selves in the middle of harvest season in a place like the Gapuz Grapes Farm so make a day of it with people you want to share conversations with. After all, where else can you gossip and actually say you heard it through the grapevine?
For directions to the farm and other information, you can visit their Instagram.
Photos by Chris Clemente