The Italian wine region of Chianti, in central Tuscany, is at risk of being destroyed completely, thanks to the wild beasts that roam the vineyards looking for food.
Hordes of wild boars and deer have been observed feasting on vineyard grapes and threatening the production of Chianti Classico, for which the region is best known. In Tuscany, the population of wild boars and deer is believed to be four times that of other parts of Italy, and the annual damage is estimated to be between $11 million and $16 million.
“Our vineyards are rather protected, but our fields are prey to wild boars and roe deer recurrent incursions and have holes that look like Ho Chi Minh trails,” Francesco Ricasoli, the owner of Chianti’s historic Barone Ricasoli estate, told the New York Times. “It is not the Chianti we dream of.”
In February, Chianti legislators approved a law to drastically reduce the population of boars and deer from over 400,000 to around 150,000. To meet this goal, the local hunting season has been extended specifically for the purpose of shooting these two animals, and the areas where hunting is permitted have also been extended.
In addition to fencing, winegrowers have taken to discouraging the intruders with small cannons, electrical wiring, and even unpleasant high frequencies that only animals can hear.
“We had and are having enormous damage because of this uncontrolled phenomenon,” Roberto Da Frassini, the technical director of another Chianti estate, told The Times.