|Cows in France illustration|
Cows love drinking wine just like humans do.
French cows are getting a taste of the high life, and are being fed wine. Some cows in the southern region of Herault are getting the equivalent of two to three glasses per day.
Livestock owners ensure that the wine keeps the cows "happy", and as far the consumer is concerned, it makes the meat taste better.
Cooks also say that the meat, which comes from cows being fed wine, taste better.
The meat, known as "vinbovin," has a "very special texture, beautiful marble, and is tender," said Laurent Pourcel, a three star Michelin chef.
Winemaker Jean-Charles Tastavy said he got the idea when he first provided the cows with a mixture of grapes, barley and hay.
This mixture of grape wine was replaced by Saint-Genies des Mourgue wine.
"For every animal, alcohol consumption should be equivalent to the amount recommended by health authorities for a man. That is equivalent to two or three glasses of wine per day," said Tastavy. "In the case of cows, this equates to between a liter and a liter and a half per day," he said.
Chaballier Claude, owner of the farm that was tested for the first time, said the experiment has been working well.
"The cattle loved what was on the menu and drank with pleasure," said Chaballier.
If the idea of giving cows a throw of alcohol is surprising, it has been done before.
Japanese Kobe cattle owners use beer to wet the appetite of cows and massage them in order to keep them toned.
A farmer from Wales in 2010 also used beer and a massage with Japanese Wagyu cattle.
"They do not get drunk, they have a lie down and go to sleep," said the farmer, Ifor Humphreys. "I'm sure you know it's very relaxing," he said.
The cows that are destined to be slaughtered get four liters of beer a day, he said.
"This helps reduce stress, which in turn produces tastier beef," said Humphreys.
But the wine-fed beef sports a high price. The price to feed the cows increased from $6 to $18 a day, in turn, this raises the price of the meat.
The price of a cut of 2.2 pounds of French beef costs around $122.