Like Ta Xua tea tree of Bac Yen, Son Tra tree is famous for its
distinct flavor and aroma. Whoever passes through Bac Yen in the Son
Tra crop cannot forget to buy some kilos of â€œTao Meoâ€ (Cat Apple) as
well as to purchase a bottle of Son Tra wine for their welcoming the
beginning of a new year.
Son Tra is called Tu Di according to the language of the Hâ€™ Mongâ€™s
people and its popular name is Tao Meo. Son Tra trees grow naturally
together with forest trees on 1,500-2,000 meter mountains. They are
found everywhere in Bac Yen. When Son Tra trees blossom, their white
blossoms flicker amid a forest of various trees on high mountain
chains. When Son Tra fruit is ripe, the Hâ€™ Mong people pick and bring
them to markets in the centers of districts.
A survey shows
that in forests of Bac Yen district, about 2,500 hectares are full of
Son Tra trees which produce nearly 100 tons of fruit yearly. Son Tra
fruit has a distinct aroma and slightly sour, acrid and sweet flavor.
They are soaked thoroughly to make up a kind of beverages or processed
to produce wine, jam, etc. Particularly, Son Tra is a kind of herbal
remedy of high blood pressure, insomnia, diabetes, etc. Few years ago,
Son Tra was known as a kind of fruit of the mountainous area which
brought in low profit. In order to take full advantage of its potential
profit, Bac Yen district in 1998, with the support of the Department of
Science, Technology and Environment of Son La province and the
Agricultural Machine Manufacturing Institute, set up a workshop to
process Son Tra wine with capacity of 6,000 liters per year and
successfully tested the research themed â€œThe Application of Scientific
Technical Advances to the Production of Wine from Son Tra Fruitâ€.
Basing on the research and the study of areas planting Son Tra trees,
Bac Yen district and the Department of Science, Technology and
Environment bought the clean technological production line which
automatically ferments the fruit and processes wine with capacity of
100,000 liters per year.
With total investment of VND550
million and the support of the Peopleâ€™s Committee of Bac Yen district,
the Phuc Thinh Co-operative has been operating the production line of
Son Tra wine. After two years of operation, the co-operative has soaked
over 10 tons of Son Tra fruit, and processed and launched to the market
nearly 15,000 liters of wine. A staff in charge of technique Nguyen
Khac Hieu said, â€œIn order to process high quality wine, we pick Tao Meo
fruit which is planted on the height of 1,700-2,000 meters and
successfully follow production processes which require at least 6
months to have finished products. Particularly, although this
processing technology does not use any alcohol, alcohol concentration
reaches 120 resulting from the soaking process creating yeast.â€
slight concentration and special aroma, Son Tra wine is interested by
drinkers. When the spring comes, Son Tra wine together with many
made-in-Vietnam kinds of wine are exported in bulk to foreign markets
and drunk by drinkers across the country in the new year.