A 65-year-old winemaker from Havana, Cuba, has come up with an ingenious use for latex condoms. As part of the process of producing his brand of wine, he places condoms over large jars of grape and fruit juice so that he can know exactly when the fermentation process is completed.
Orestes Estevez has been making wine for a long time, but he only opened his winery, “El Canal”, in 2000, when the Communist regime made private enterprises legal. He uses Cuban grapes with all kinds of tropical fruits and vegetables thrown in for added flavoring to make a cheap yet delicious alternative to imported wines.
With the average monthly income in Cuba standing at around $25, few people can afford to pay half that much for a bottle of foreign wine, so at 10 times less that amount per bottle, the 65-year-olds’ wine is a popular alternative.
Estevez and his family tend to about 300 large jugs of wine at all times, and they can be seen lined up on shelves or on the floor all around their house. The condoms are a cheap alternative to the valves and sensors used by most wineries to release gases and monitor the fermentation process, according to odditycentral.com.
The condoms slowly inflate as the grape juice and fruits start to ferment and produce gases. When they become firm and full of gas, Orestes punches a few small holes with a needle to allow the slow release of gas, and when the condom stops inflating and falls, he knows that the wine is ready for bottling.