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News 367 views last update:6 Aug 2012

Canadian farmers feeding cattle wine

With the Canadian cattle industry still recovering from the aftermath of the mad cow disease outbreak, a group of farmers in has hit upon a unique niche product — wine-fed beef.

Southern Plus Feedlots owner Bill Freding said the idea of wine-fed beef became a reality this past November, when the first cattle were fed wine to supplement their grain diet.

Freding said he's trying to produce a product that is equal to Japan’s Kobe beef, where Wagyu cattle are fed a beer a day and massaged with saki before they are slaughtered. The steaks, known for their tenderness and its marbled-texture, can cost hundreds of dollars in Japan.

The comparisons between the Kobe beef and the B.C. wine-fed beef have already been made, reports state.

“Government House in Victoria had a special awards (event), and they served it. One of the food writers, he had been down to one of the Wolfgang Puck’s restaurants in California, and he says that the beef we served there is as good as anything (served by) Wolfgang. He’s had American Kobe, the American Wagyu and the Japanese Kobe beef. He thought it was equivalent, or even better,” Freding said.

As for the beef itself, Freding describes the product as a little more tender compared to other products, including the Alberta Black Angus beef.
“It’s a brighter red, you can really see the red colour,” he said. “It’s got a different flavour, but I wouldn’t like to say it was definitely a wine flavour, or anything, but it definitely has a sweeter flavour to it,” he said.

While the cattle are fed mainly a diet of grain, it’s during the final 90 days leading up to their slaughter that they are fed red wine supplied by a number of wineries in the Okanagan Valley. While it might sound like a lot of wine, Freding said the opposite is true. “They are fed a litre per head, which is probably equivalent to you drinking one glass of wine a day,”

Freding pitched the idea of wine-fed beef to a number of representatives from the B.C. meat industry earlier this month. “Everybody is quite excited about it. They all want the steaks and the ribs,” he said.

Source: Toronto Sun

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