Reports that marauding wild boar are devastating the vineyards of Chianti (and Tuscany in general) have been in the news lately. Bleak portraits of grunting pigs rooting up young vines and chomping on ripe Sangiovese grapes, winemakers gnashing their teeth and/or throwing up their hands in despair, and Fiats bashed in by bad pig encounters on lonely roads are the essence of the story. As Diana Lenzi of the Fattoria di Petroio estate in Chianti Classico put it to me, "We are being invaded by wildlife. The cinghiale [wild boar] come in, rip things up, and keep coming and coming and coming. This year we lost one-fifth of our crop to wild boar."
So what does one do? Some wineries have taken to erecting massive steel fences, others are working with ultrasonic sound systems to repel the beasts (others are undoubtedly investing in additional shotguns and boar spears). Lenzi adds, "Some genius even brought in wolves to get rid of them. So now we have packs of wolves, too."
- Best Wineries to Visit in Tuscany
- Why Tuscany's Winemakers are Reclaiming the Chianti Classico
- Winemaking Under the Volcano
As to what we here in the U.S. can do, that's fairly simple: Drink more Tuscan wine. Here's the reasoning: More Tuscan wine consumed means more money for Tuscan wineries, and thus more resources to spend on eradicating excess wild boar. Right?