Angus cattle in British Columbia are being fed red wine with their grain. And while Chefs in the province of Okanagan say that it makes for a unique beef taste, Canadian food inspectors seem puzzled on how to react.
Janice Ravndahl of Sezmu Meats claims that the beef produces has an enhanced flavor, “You don’t get any better than steak and a wine,” she said. “We just start a bit earlier.”
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency called Ravndahl recently and questioned her about sediment in the wine. After concluding that there is no risk to human safety the bureaucrats have not required her to stop production of the wino cows. “They said they had some concerns about wine being fed to cattle. We are not being shut down. We are being allowed to sell the product,” Ravndhal said.
But what affect does the vinous intake have on the cows themselves? “It definitely changes their personalities. They moo a lot more with each other. They get really chatty,” Ravndhal said. The wine appears to make the steers more docile, which enhances the texture of the meat. “Cattle that are relaxed taste better,” she said. “You don’t want tense beef.”
The first bovine booze-up was in April 2009 with the 21-day dry-aged beef first hitting the market in February 2010. “We just put it in a pail and said ‘Who’s going to drink it?’” she said. The cows are served up to a litre of the red stuff a day.
The real test of course, comes in the form of human consumption and it seems that the Canadian chefs who’ve tried the beef can’t get enough of it. Quail’s Gate Winery of Kelowna, was among the first to put the beef on its menu and Chef Roger Sleiman is enthusiastic about the response.”We’ve had great reviews from our customers. At first I thought it was a gimmick,” he said. “It costs a bit more but we think it’s worth it.”