Certain basic items are in perpetual short supply in Cuba, but the country’s public health policies guarantee that condoms are always abundant. Naturally, the contraceptive has been repurposed to satisfy all kinds of needs in daily life: From rubber bands, to fishing, to wine.
In a country where the average person makes about $25 per month, a bottle of imported wine can cost up to half a paycheck. Some Cubans make their own, adding extra flavor from other fruits and employing condom “corks” to show when the grape juice is ready for bottling, the AP reports.
Winemaker Orestes Esteve, prepares a jug of wine at his house in Havana, Cuba. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)
In Orestes Estevez’s home winery, hundreds of condoms cap over 500 jugs, each containing about five gallons of wine. As the fruit ferments, the wine releases gas, which gets trapped in the condoms and makes them stand erect. Once the condoms become flaccid again, Estevez know fermentation is complete.
“Putting a condom on a bottle is just like with a man,” Estevez told the AP. “It stands up, the wine is ready, and then the process is completed.” Once the wine is bottled, Estevez will sell them to homes and restaurants.
(AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)
Esteves caps a jug of wine with a condom (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)
Estevez’s product is bottled and sold for consumption in homes and restaurants, with sales at an average of 50 bottles a day for 10 Cuban pesos (40 cents) apiece. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)
Esteves’ father, also named Orestes, started the winery as an illicit backyard still. Now the “El Canal” winery has become a flourishing business that annually produces thousands of gallons of wine flavored with guava, watercress and beets. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)
Several condom topped wine jugs stand in winemaker Orestes Estevez’ house. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)