While I was reading about the running out of wine at the wedding feast (John 2), I recalled reading about these two events earlier in the day.
[b]Baboons gobble grapes in South African wine region[/b]
[i]By NASTASYA TAY, Associated Press Writer Tue Mar 23, 2:42 pm ET[/i]
JOHANNESBURG Baboons, it seems, prefer pinot noir. They also like a nice chardonnay.
Largely undeterred by electric fences, hundreds of wild baboons in South Africa's prized wine country are finding the vineyards of ripe, succulent grapes to be an "absolute bonanza," said Justin O'Riain of the University of Cape Town.
Winemakers have resorted to using noisemakers and rubber snakes to try to drive the baboons off during harvest season.
"The poor baboons are driven to distraction," said O'Riain, who works in the university's Baboon Research Unit.
"As far as baboons are concerned, the combination of starch and sugar is very attractive and that's your basic grape," he said.
Growers say the picky primates are partial to sweet pinot noir grapes, adding to the winemakers' woe: Pinot noir sells for more than the average merlot or cabernet sauvignon.
"They choose the nicest bunches, and you will see the ones they leave on the ground. If you taste them, they are sour," said Francois van Vuuren, farm manager at La Terra de Luc vineyards, 50 miles (80 kilometers) east of Cape Town. "They eat the sweetest ones and leave the rest."
[b]Quake puts dent in Chile's wine business[/b]
[i]By Victor Herrero Special to USA TODAY[/i]
SANTA CRUZ, Chile Samuel Castro, a security guard at Bisquertt Winery's 1,400-acre vineyard here in the Colchagua Valley, arrived at his job at 7 a.m. last Saturday and couldn't believe what he saw.
"The road was turned into a red torrent; the wine was streaming down the irrigation ditch," he remembered.
Five days after the massive magnitude-8.8 earthquake that hit Chile, the more than 300-foot-long dirt road that leads to Bisquertt's main cellar was still soaked, had a dark-purple color and emanated a smell of putrid wine.
Several storage tanks cracked, dozens of barrels burst and hundreds of bottles shattered, releasing about 20,000 liters of red wine, said Jaime Araya, a manager at Bisquertt.
Similar devastations struck most of the wineries in this valley and many more along the central-south region of Chile, which is home to 70% of the wine production in this country and which the quake hit hardest.