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Wine Club Newsletter - September 2022

These animals are very tough, very destructive. While staying in Chianti, we were driving home after dinner through the winding, hilly, narrow roads. Our friends in the car in front of us hit a hog while going about 45 miles per hour.

We pulled over to help. The front of the car was heavily damaged, and the hog was unconscious, sprawled out on the side of the road. As we were waiting for a tow truck to arrive, we heard a grunt from the animal, then another. A couple of seconds later, it was on its feet, shaking its head, and then darted off into the woods. GP


Wild Boars Pull Off Mega-Heist!

In Colli Euganei, Italy, feral hogs devoured 10.5 metric tons of wine grapes.

Feral hog - a term used in Untied States English to denote the cinghiale or wild boar that we love so much in our pappardelle al ragu di cinghiale - have increasingly become a nuisance and even safety hazard in Italy as hot temperatures, dwindling water resources, and scarcity of their natural foods have increasingly led them to venture into the human sphere.

Earlier this year the Smithsonian Magazine published an article entitled – no joke – Wild Boars are Ransacking Rome.” You’ll see a brood of the beasts strolling down a heavily trafficked street in Italy’s Capital.

Beyond the neighborhoods of the Eternal City, where the biggest concern is that they will spread disease or physically harm residents, the animals have come to represent an existential threat for small wine growers.

Enrico Selmin had used electric fences to protect his 12.5 acres of organically farmed grapes – his first commercially viable crop “All my property was completely eaten,” he told the local newspaper. My winery opened just this year and will remain closed and unused because I don’t even have one cluster to make wine.”

For large scale growers, the animals which have little fear of humans, represent a growing problem in terms of crop loss. But for someone like Enrico, it means starting all over from scratch. He also lost his investment in the electric fence.

Last year, Italy’s national daily La Repubblica reported that the Chianti Colli Fiorentini appellation lost 30% of its crop to the feral hogs.

Tuscany’s regional government has allocated over four million to build “double fences” in an effort to keep the beasts out of the vineyards, farm and ranch land.

Efforts to curb the damages have been underway since 2015 when it became clear that the problem needed to be addressed. But programs to hunt and kill the animals were put on hold during the pandemic. As a result, the boar population continued to grow during 2020 and 2021.

Italian wine growers are already contending with one of the hottest and driest vintages on record. The last thing they need is to contend with ungulates easting their already diminished crop. Do Bianchi, Word Press


Provence Wine Producers Weigh in on Losses After Deadly Wildfires in France.

Wildfires that swept across the hilly region close to the French Riviera are now under control, firefighters said on Monday. The blaze claimed two lives and scorched more than 18,000 acres of land. Some 12,000 acres were lost in the Var region, which produces the Côtes de Provence rosé wine that is particularly popular in the United States.

Two hundred of the region’s 4,000 producers are believed to have been badly affected. Winemaker Pierre Audemar lost all his equipment and half of his grape harvest to the flames. “It’s not possible,” he told France Info television three days after the fire, gazing at the charred remains of his Domaine de la Giscle winery and the stock of 2019 wine stacked up in metal crates now burned to a cinder. He hopes insurance will cover the economic blow of between “1.5 million and 2 million euros”.

Even winegrowers who were fortunate not to lose their estates are concerned that the proximity of the fires will have tainted their grapes with smoke. "We are only a few days away from the harvest, which is bound to be damaged,” said Guillaume de Chevron Villette, owner of the Reillanne winery. “We produce a quality rosé wine, so the challenge will surely be to eliminate the risk of a burnt taste in the wine," he told AFP.



Gary Parker, Owner

The WineSellar & Brasserie

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