Everybody seems to be talking about this, so let’s catch up.
Story in the Drinks Business ~ “French cows fed wine to increase flavour.”
The sub title reads: A number of farmers in the Languedoc have taken to feeding their cattle local red wine to improve the flavour of their beef.
[Buckle 'em up, Honey, we don't want 'em to fall over.]
According to The Independent, “local farmer Claude Chaballier fed three animals last year – in a trial run that he’s preparing to repeat next month. He says the resulting beef was ‘lean, marbled and tasty.’ Two Angus and one Camargue were given a mix of leftover grapes, barley and hay before about two litres of wine were integrated into their diet.”
Chaballier is going forward with this as a small practice. He’s now also thinking about additional flavors, like a chef with ingredients to create a great dish. Next, he’s thinking of using muscat grapes. Musky, floral beef?
Okay, I want to know how the cows are liking the wine, first and foremost; and what’s the behavior of the cows, since alcohol of any sort is foreign to their digestive systems. I had to read on. It seems that cows were first fed the wine in a mix of barley, hay and grapes. Okay, got their digestives systems ready for the real deal… It turns out that these cows were happy cows ~ oh yeah ~ who ended up producing “an exceptionally succulent meat.”
Take note, you cannibals. As David Letterman used to say, “Know your cuts of beef.” Cannibals, “Know your wine lovers.”
Could we then be producing alcocowlics?
I can’t take total credit for this new word. In the comments of the stroy, I read one by Francois Capron-Manieux. Francois wrote, “Here they come: the Alcowlics!!!!” This made me laugh, and I thought… “Almost there.” I just couldn’t get my tongue around “Alcowlics,” but I could easily pronounce “Alcocowlics,” and have it still be with four syllables.
So, what are the scientific (versus experiential) results of feeding cows wine? Let’s go to Scientists in Australia for their findings. Very positive, as it turns out. These scientists have scientifically proven a corresponding link between feeding cows left-over wine products and an increase in milk production.
I never measured that when I was nursing my children. While I enjoyed a bit of wine, I didn’t over indulge and raised three healthy children. Now I wish I had measured my milk production on wine days and non-wine days… I always had plenty of milk, regardless. I enjoyed that time of motherhood.
Good thing baby cows are taken away from the mothers early in this process, though, huh? Otherwise we’d have happy baby cows flipflopping all over the place, since they stand so quickly after birth.
And, please don’t share this with American farmers who take baby cows into a veal program… They might take after the Kobe beef farmers of Japan, that create their Japanese Kobe beef with the help of beer.
Neither of which I can bear to eat, just thinking of the proven inhumane conditions for each baby animal. Yeah, I love (all) babies that much.
Belgian farmers have been feeding beer to their beef cattle for at least a decade, so they’re probably laughing at all of us, or saying, “Shucks, our advantage will soon be over.”
According to Today, July 11, 2012:
French cows are enjoying up to two bottles of high quality wine every day as farmers attempt to produce the best beef in Europe. The extraordinary development has seen a “Vinbovin” label of meat established which is already being championed by some of the best restaurants in Paris.
So what’s the beef?
Introducing wine into the feed of the Lunel-Viel cows tripled the cost of their feed, adding up to £80.00 Euros ($98) to the cost of a prime beef cut.
Okay, I can see all of this going to Paris, or Dubai, or the Far Flung Islands of Langerhans. We won’t have to worry about it for a very long time, if ever.
Will it add to grape shortages? One can only wonder at it all.