His experiment in Lunel-Viel, in the southern Herault region of France, which saw three cows fed local wine for four months produced 'happy cows,’ that ended up producing an exceptionally succulent beef
Now, the ‘Vinbovin’ label has attracted the business of some of Paris’ best restaurants.
Describing how he taught the cows to enjoy a tipple, Mr Tastavy said: "For each animal, alcohol intake should be equivalent to the amount recommended by health authorities for a man – namely two or three glasses of wine a day. In the case of cows, this amounts to between a litre and a litre-and-a-half a day."
After enjoying a cow-size snack of grapes and water, the cattle were allowed wine from Saint-Genies des Mourgues, a Languedoc village near Montpellier renowned for its vineyards.
"The cattle loved what was on the menu and drank it with relish," said Claude Chaballier, owner of the farm where the experiment started last year.
Laurent Pourcel, a Michelin-starred chef, recently waxed eloquently on the topic of the 'luxury meat' saying: "It has a very special texture – beautiful, marbled and tender, and which caramelises during cooking. All the best Parisien restaurants will take it."
Of course, the concept of giving beef a buzz for taste has been around a while. Japanese Kobe beef, which is made with beer, is considered a world-class delicacy, but cows guzzling vintage wine might suggest a comparison of beer drinkers to luxurious wine connoisseurs with sophisticated palettes capable of sensing the nuances of diverse bouquets.
Personally, I wouldn’t know. When someone sniffs a goblet and makes a face at our home we usually change the brand of dishwasher detergent we’re using.
Besides, there’s a downside to eating boozy beef. It seems the introduction of wine into the diet of the Lunel-Viel cows tripled the cost of their feed, adding up to £80 to the cost of a prime beef cut.