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Wines, wheels and virus woes

We’ve been managing our business and, at the same time, our long distance relationship. Good thing, I have here with me my very reliable Hyundai Tucson

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Wine has been the life of the party since time immemorial. It has been that popular alcoholic beverage as early as 6,000 years ago. This drink that people love is basically made from grapes, generally vitis vinifera, without the added sugar, acids, enzymes, water or other nutrients.
This, in particular, made business partners and couple, Aldrin Baet and Klarisse Quevada drawn to each other.

“We’ve been practically friends since college. But it was just lately that we decided to collaborate since, like me, he is also into wines,” Klarisse fondly recalled as I interviewed the couple inside Aldrin’s 2010 Hyundai Tucson for our final episode of Real Drive’s Season 2 in December last year (with Season 3 coming up real soon).

“We both had our separate social media accounts and online wine businesses that time. But eventually, it was not long until we decided to finally merge. We both kind of clicked since we practically had the same vision of having this typical wine bar,” she continued.

​“Yes, she — in a way — helped me since she already had an established system,” Aldrin, fir his part, quickly responded as he joined our conversation, albeit he was casually driving behind the wheel.

KLARISSE, together with her family of wine connoisseurs, enjoy dinner together.

Napa wines

As our conversation went along, I also learned that Klarisse just came from California where her family currently resides. Their place there was just a stone’s throw away from Napa Country, which is north of San Francisco and is known for hundreds of hillside vineyards

​“I wanted to import wines from Napa since their products are not yet that popular here,” Klarisse said.

​According to her, Napa Valley is widely considered as one of the top American Viticultural Areas in California — and practically — all of the United States, with a history dating back to the early nineteenth century, where there were more than 140 wineries in the area. Today, the area already features more than four hundred wineries and grows many different grape varieties, including: Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Zinfandel and other popular varietals.

​“Wine has been my family’s passion. We’re sort of wine connoisseurs. Through the years, it became my passion. I want to educate the youth and everyone in the market to make certain brands reachable despite them being like premium brands,” she continued.

​“I would really like to build that foundation and have this industry be developed here in the Philippines.”

PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR AND KLARISSE QUEVADA
THE ‘Wine’ couple inside their trusty steed, the 2010 Hyundai Tucson

Best friend

​As our wine talk continued, I — in fact — learned that the couple has been striving to manage their long distance relationship for quite some time now before Klarisse decided to fly here just recently.

​“We’ve been managing our business and, at the same time, our long distance relationship. Good thing, I have here with me my very reliable Hyundai Tucson,” Aldrin shared.

​“It has been my best friend all this time. I use this to manage our wine business here, delivering wines and restocking them. It is basically my means to operate the business,” he continued.

ALDRIN, with her mother, Mary Jane, (center) who also helps with the couple’s wine business.

A wine in one hand

​The couple also opened up about the struggles of handling their wine business, particularly amid this raging pandemic.

​“Admittedly, it has been really difficult, especially during this time of the pandemic,” Klarisse shared.

​“That’s why it’s always good to have wine on the side just to unwind and de-stress.”

​Still, despite their difficulties, the couple has remained undeterred.

​“We believe that we have the grit to continue on, persevere and inspire the youth. We have to be brave, go outside our comfort zones, push and go after our dreams,” she added.

​With this, I could just imagine how our ancestors are proudly looking upon them from up above and egging them on.

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