The Salucop Winemakers

The Salucop sisters re-established their great-grandfather’s wine brand on May 14, 2013, centuries after the family made their first wine. Named Basi del Diablo Wines because of an old story from their grandfather Benito, the brand now has six different wines under its name.

Our Story

The year was 1906 and the homes located in the small town of Batac were mostly connected by dirt roads. Despite the many trees that lined these roads, walking from one place to another was never enjoyable. The Ilocano sun has always been unrelenting but to one young man, this was nothing. On a certain day that year, a man named Javier Salucop decided to get basi (sugarcane wine) from the local market. It was an hour walk away from his parents’ home in Batac.

Javier bought some from one of the local vendors and tasted it before he went home. He was disappointed. His family home, surrounded by suga cane fields, was sitting on a hilly region of the northern province. Seeing the sugarcane around him, Javier told himself that he will make his own basi. He took some bark, seeds, and java plum to put a little flavour into the semi-sweet concoction. This is where Basi del Diablo started. Javier is the first recorded winemaker of the Salucop family but it is believed that there were more before him.

Later on, Javier married Honorata. She bore him eight children – seven boys and one girl who died in infancy. Left with seven boys, Javier taught his sons to make basi based on his own recipe. When Javier’s first six sons grew into fine young men, America opened its doors to Filipinos. The boys decided to go to the United States for better job opportunities. The youngest son, Benito, was much too young to go to America with his brothers. Benito’s son Wilfred would later recount his father’s story where he ran after his brothers just so he can join them in their journey. The eldest, however, put him in a rice sack and tied the sack to a tree.

Benito was left behind but with him lived the recipe of Javier. Years later, Benito walked all the way to the Philippine capital at the age of 14. He then found a job at a distillery. He would go back home a decade or so later to open a small store and his merchandise included Javier’s basi which he sold for 10 centavos a cup. 

For decades, Benito only sold his basi to relatives and friends and those who would occasionally pass by his little shop. Storing the fermented sugarcane in clay jars just outside of his home located in the downtown area of Batac, he complained to his wife about thieves. The basi kept going missing so Benito thought of something to keep thieves at bay. He told one of his patrons that he saw a demon in his yard and that it lurked where he always kept his wine. From then on, no thieves came near his home. This is the part of the story where the brand got its name.

Today, Benito’s granddaughters through his son Wilfred run the Basi del Diablo brand. 

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