Thursday, August 23, 2012


Consumption of alcoholic beverages in moderate quantities is credited with many benefits including protection of heart. But above all people enjoy taking alcoholic beverages for their stimulant properties. Red wine from grapes is supposed to be rich in antioxidants that keep the inflammation down and help avoiding some forms of cancers. Resveratrol, present in red wine is reported to be helpful in retarding the aging phenomenon. While rating alcoholic drinks wine and bear are considered mild while others like whiskey, brandy, rum, vodka etc are stronger ones with high alcoholic content. France and Italy dominate the wine production industry world wide, controlling almost 40% of the world production. The per capita annual consumption of wine is highest in France, estimated at 8 liters and France provides some of the best wines in the world. Recent reports that ranchers in France are experimenting with cows to see the effect of wine on the quality of beef produced provide an interesting insight into the abundance and predominance of wine industry in that country.

Japan's Kobe cows were the "original tipplers, known to indulge in the occasional frothy beer to stimulate their appetites. Some southern Japanese farmers even used booze as a superficial primer, dabbing their cows' hides with sake to improve the skin's appearance and softness. But now the boozed-up bovines have a new challenger — from the French, thanks to a winemaker in the south of the country who wondered what a few glasses of wine each day would do for the quality of beef from local farmers. Languedoc-Roussillon winemaker Jean-Charles Tastavy decided to experiment after learning of studies in Spain and Canada that highlighted the merits of keeping animals happy to yield better meat, the Agence France-Presse reports. Tastavy partnered with farmer Claude Chaballier, who had a surplus of cows on which they could test the wine theory. Starting in 2011 after the fall grape harvest, three cows were fed the pomace, essentially the remainders of pressed grapes, washed down with water. Then they chose to feed the cows the real deal: locally produced wine from St.-Geni├Ęs des Mourgues. "The cows appreciated the menu and ate with enjoyment," Tastavy said.

Wine production is seeing a decline in recent years and probably diverting a part of the production to the beef industry may be logical. Though it is claimed that the quality of meat produced by cows fed with two bottles of wine a day is significantly superior, there is no universal agreement on this issue. It is true that alcohol, being a depressant, can be expected to reduce the physical activity of the cows and the metabolic activities, especially in the liver can be some what different after feeding the animal with wine. Consumption of wine, about two servings of 25-35 ml every day is considered beneficial in humans and therefore feeding of about 1.5 liters of wine may have same effect in cows also. What is not clear is whether wine has been fed before the main feeding or after wards because alcohol absorption is slower if alcohol is administered after the main feeding and blood alcohol is metabolized faster. Whatever it is, the fact that beef from wine fed cows is commanding a premium price and several renowned chefs are vouchsafing for the better meat quality, the practice of wine feeding may become popular.  


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