Baboons, the red bottomed Old World monkeys, have (rather ironically) been eating the grapes on the vines that are ready for harvesting in this New World country. Not so chuckle-inducing is that their ferocious appetites have virtually wiped put South African vineyards, with some farmers losing up to 40% of their monthly harvest, which equals to as many as 1,500 to 2,000 bottles of wine. These little sweet creatures have a taste for the Chardonnay grape grown in South Africa’s Western Cape wine region and now they are called ‘thieving baboons’, while some have ridiculed the rosy-tushed robbers for not having the patience to waiting until the grapes are fermented into the wine. They eat them straight off the vines – what a waste!
In some parts of France, farmers yield a small amount of grapes, a traditional way of wine-making wherein far fewer grapes are harvested. Now, in South Africa, baboons are limiting the amount of grapes harvested in a rather ‘natural’ way, forcing South African wine makers to also return to the more traditional method.
Travelers, don’t let the ‘thieving baboons’ discourage you on your trip. Going for a vineyard tour from Cape Town is still very easy, whether you are stealing half a day from a crowded business trip, or purely on holiday – perhaps these new primate friends may even raise a glass with you. Drinkers, do get prepared for an increase in the price of South African Chardonnay as the farmers compensate for their losses, as it’s not likely that baboons will ever be brought to trial.
[Photo: moron noodle]