My dog, Bishop, making a cameo.
Sababay’s wines can be consumed straight or even mixed as sangria or added to cranberry sauce!
This summer, I had the honor of visiting Sababay, Indonesia’s first winery located in Bali. What is so special about this company is that it uses local grapes instead of imported ones to make its wine. Even though I was not allowed to take pictures, I got first access to Sababay’s history from its founders, mother and daughter, Mrs. Mulyati and Evy Ghozali.
Before I start with the winery, I want to take a few steps back to unfold the origin of the business.
Grapes are perishable goods, meaning that they have very short shelf life. Because of this, grape farmers have to sell their harvest quickly, despite its price fluctuations in the market (economics!). This, added with the lack of education in farming sustainability, eventually led to the production of low-quality, cheap grapes in Indonesia. Even though grapes are one of the most highly produced fruits in Bali, they are mainly sold as religious offerings, as the quality is often deemed not good enough for consumption.
Striving to maximize the potential in the Indonesian agriculture industry, the Ghozalis decided to tap into the grape market and create a winery. With wine, they are able to increase the shelf life of the grapes and reduce the impact of the price fluctuations. Their initial move was to approach the farmers and offer them education in grape farming, in exchange for their full and exclusive partnership in providing grapes for the business. After two years of R&D and training, Sababay Winery started its first wine production in 2010. The outcome? Bali grape farmers in Singaraja who used to make one million Rupiah a year (that’s equivalent to ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS!) now make ONE HUNDRED MILLION RUPIAH a year! The family said that when they first met the farmers, they looked skinny, unhealthy and unhappy. When I met them this summer, I saw how happy and healthy they are (compared to the many other farmers I have met in Indonesia throughout my life). I was amazed by the impact Sababay has created, not only to the Singaraja grape farmers, but also to the families of the farmers involved. Because of this success, more grape farmers are interested in becoming partners as well.
Not only that, Sababay also creates great wines. When I visited the winery, I had the pleasure of being personally accompanied by Sababay’s winemaker, Mr. Vincent in touring the facility, and learned about almost every single process of winemaking. Other than being of high quality, many of the winery’s machines and products used by Sababay are also domestically made. I tried the Black Velvet (red wine) and the soon to be marketed Ludisia and they taste great (Ludisia is my personal favorite). Other than the two, Sababay also has Pink Blossom and will soon release its bubbly wine.
I am so honored to witness such a great story and be able to tell Tasteritos’ readers about it. I hope that more people will support this business so that it can impact more farmers in Indonesia.
Jalan Bypass No. 333x, Gianyar, Keramas, Bali 80581
You can also purchase Sababay wines at Sababay Selections (Jalan Raya Puputan 64A, Denpasar, Bali), in all supermarkets and select wine shops in Bali and Vin+ shops, Gandaria City Wine Shop and Redline Grand Lucky in Jakarta.