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Allegrini 2018

WHAT’S THE RISK GRAPES AROUND THE WORLD ARE FACING? BEING EATEN BY RACCOONS, WILD BOARS, BABOONS, BIRDS AND DEER THAT HAVE ALL CHOSEN GRAPES, RED OR GREEN AS THE KEY PART OF THEIR DIETS, REPORTS “DECANTER”

What's the risk grapes all over the world run? Being eaten by raccoons, wild boar, baboons, birds and deer that have all chosen the wine berry, be it red or green, as a key part of their diets. It would perhaps seem that the hierarchy of risks in vineyards has been reversed and are no longer the classic vine diseases, but a group of mammals that have a sweet tooth for grapes. In some of the major wine producing areas, cellars risk seeing their raw material literally devoured by a hefty patrol of animals that love wine grapes.
The British site www.decanter.com has listed the "top five" most dangerous animals for grapes. The top five are raccoons, wild pigs, baboons, birds and deer that live in different habitats, but have all learned to enjoy the sweetness of wine grapes and in some cases even vine shoots.
In Germany, raccoons were not native to the country, but Nazi air force chief Hermann Goering introduced them in 1934 when he decided Germany did not have enough wildlife. Raccoons confirmed their preference for wine grapes in 2005 when they destroyed an entire harvest in the Brandenburg region, west of Berlin. It is estimated there are over a million raccoons in Germany and the government is trying to control their numbers through regular culls.
In Italy, and particularly in Tuscany, vineyards and grapes are under the constant siege of wild boar.
There are now more than 150.000 in Tuscany alone and the number is growing, which is a formidable force as they roam the countryside in packs.
The Tuscans took up hunting wild boar to protect their vines, (and historically much of the local cuisine is centered around boar meat) but it is still not sufficient. In South Africa, instead, baboons have developed a particular fondness for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes, eating the sweeter, riper grapes, and leaving behind the more bitter ones. But that’s not all.
Young baboons are crazy for vine shoots, and destroy entire rows. It is forbidden to shoot baboons in South Africa and wine producers have to protect their vineyards with fences, which, however, are not a difficult obstacle for the agile monkeys. In Sonoma Valley, California, migratory or sedentary birds, especially starlings, are a nightmare for local producers. Some of them have resorted to the use of falcons to protect their vineyards from giant flocks of birds.
In North America, where deer are at home, grapes or vine shoots of represent a kind of delicious treat for these animals. Winemakers in this territory protect their vineyards with fences, hunting and repellents based on natural ingredients that are definitely nauseating even to humans.
So, to each country its own animal “grape predator”.

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