Entries in Wine (2)


French Farmers Give Cows Wine to Improve Taste of Beef

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(PARIS) -- We've heard of cow tipping, but what about tipsy cows? Some French farmers are now serving their cattle up to two bottles of wine a day, claiming it improves the taste of the meat.

It all began with winemaker Jean-Charles Tastavy, who had heard of studies in Spain and Canada that showed the benefits of a happy cow. With the help of farmer Claude Chaballier, who had a surplus of cows, he decided to test the theory, Agence France-Presse reports.

They started out slowly. In 2011, the pair began feeding three cows pomace, or diluted pressed grapes that were left over from the fall harvest. After a while, the cows were given the good stuff -- up to two bottles of wine per day.

And although it sounds like a lot of alcohol, Tastavy said the amount of wine given to each cow is based on official recommendations.

"For each animal, alcohol intake should be equivalent to the amount recommended by health authorities for a man -- namely two or three glasses of wine a day," Tastavy told the AFP. "In the case of cows, this amounts to between a liter and a liter and a half a day."

The cows aren't the only ones benefiting from experiment -- those eating the meat of the wine-drinking cattle are raving about its unique taste.

Chef Laurent Pourcel told the AFP that the meat has a "very special texture, beautiful, marbled and tender, which caramelizes while cooking."

The new beef even has a new name. It's being branded as vinbonvin, molding the French words for "wine" and "beef" into one.

But the improved taste means higher costs for farmers and therefore higher costs for consumers. Time reports the daily cost of feeding each cow has tripled, leading to a major increase for those purchasing the meat. One kilogram of the beef, or 2.2 pounds, will cost you upward of $122.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Online Wine Merchants Fail to Check IDs

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(CHAPEL HILL, N.C.) -- Many Internet alcohol vendors are lax at verifying that customers are of legal age, making it easy for teens to buy alcohol, according to a new study.

Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill asked eight volunteers between the ages of 18 and 20 to attempt to purchase alcohol from 100 of the most popular vendors using prepaid gift cards.

Nearly 60 percent of companies selling alcohol online made little, if any, effort to verify customers’ ages.  Of 45 successful orders, 51 percent didn’t use any type of age verification.

But the researchers also placed blame on the delivery companies, despite corporate policy that age verification is required for wine shipments.  Wine is the only alcoholic beverage that the shipping companies -- FedEx and UPS in this study -- will ship as per their regulations.

“Some packages were left at the door, or handed to recipients after checking an underage identification or simply asking if the person receiving the package was 21,” said Rebecca Williams, the study’s lead author and a research associate at the University of North Carolina Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention in Chapel Hill.

Driver’s licenses given to anyone younger than 21 are clearly marked in N.C., making anyone younger than the legal drinking age easy to identify.

Williams added that parents should also be aware of how easy it is to purchase alcohol online, and how easy it is for teens to obtain and use a parent’s driver’s license.

“Teens widely report having access to parents’ identifications and using them to purchase alcohol,” Williams explained.  “Children can also hide online purchases from parents by using prepaid cards they can buy with cash.”

In response to the study findings, a spokeswoman for UPS, who has not yet reviewed the study, stressed to ABC News that company policies regarding alcohol shipments are very strict.

“UPS procedures are put in place to reduce the risk that any minors would have access to illegal alcohol,” she said.  “If UPS is involved in deliveries containing alcohol, the delivery person would need to secure an adult signature.”

The spokeswoman also explained that wine delivered through UPS must have a sticker on the package that indicates an adult signature is required as part of the company’s wine shipping program that only allows approved vendors to ship wine.

A spokesman for FedEx said the company doesn’t condone the sale of alcohol to anyone underage and has policies in place to prevent it from happening.

“We take the findings in this report seriously. After we have had time to review the study, we will take any necessary corrective action to ensure our policies are being followed,” said company spokesman Scott Fiedler.

Williams said the study provides evidence that illegal alcohol sales are a significant problem.

“Part of why this problem exists is because there is little regulation to restrict online alcohol sales,” she said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio