Have you ever seen an Indian Runner Duck? No? Think again! Have you ever watched the movie “Babe”? The character called Ferdinand was an Indian Runner Duck! It is a special breed of domestic duck which came from the East Indies. Now the curious thing about them is that they run, rather than waddling, and they stand erect like penguins. A-do-ra-ble!
South Africans know better!
Since the year 1984, a team of Runner Ducks has been employed in the pest-control-task-force of Vergenoegd Wine State – a winery in South Africa (Stellenbosch). Their job is to munch on snails and bugs twice a day – and I like it because that is oh-so-green-and-environment-friendly and allows the winery to reduce the amount of pesticides! The hardworking duckies even have a wine named after them, which comes in three versions: the “Runner Duck – White” (Sauvignon Blanc and a hint of Colombard), the “Runner Duck – Red” (Touriga Nacional, Cabernet Franc and Malbec) and the “Runner Duck – Rosé” (Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Merlot). Nice labels, by the way!
Get your ducks in a row!
If you’re willing to visit the winery, you can watch the Duck Parade on the following hours:
Mon – Fri: 09:45 or 15:30
Sat: 10:00 or 12:30 or 15:30
Sun and Public Holidays: 09:45 or 12:30 or 15:30
You can book it in advance on their website.
Italians do it too
Something similar is done in an Italian winery called Di Filippo (@Cannara, Umbria Region), where a geese-squad fights against pests – which is part of their organic and biodynamic approach to farming. The little animals fertilize the land and start munching on the vegetation that grows around vines in April, but then they’re forced to go on holidays between July and August – otherwise they start eating the lower bunches of grapes too!
Along with them, there’s also the four-legged-squad, which is comprised of Italian Rapid Farmhorse, French Comptois and Noriker horses.
IN 2010 WE HAD THE IDEA OF GOING BACK TO FARMING TRADITIONS AND WORKING THE LAND WITH HORSES, BECAUSE THEY REDUCE TRAMPLING IN THE VINEYARD CAUSED BY TRACTORS, WHICH ULTIMATELY COMPACT AND DESTROY THE STRUCTURE OF THE SOIL AND LEAVE IT STERILE. IN THIS WAY THE SOIL IS HEALTHIER, ITS MICROORGANISMS ARE PROTECTED, AND THE VINES LIVE LONGER, WHICH IS A BASIC REQUIREMENT FOR THE PRODUCTION OF QUALITY WINES. GROUND WHICH HAS BEEN “MASSAGED” BY HORSES’ HOOVES HAS BEEN PROVED TO PRODUCE BETTER ROOTS, AIR AND WATER CIRCULATE MORE FREELY, AND THE QUALITY OF THE VINES IS IMPROVED. THE VINTNER IS ALSO MORE AWARE OF THE VALUE OF HIS WORK ONCE MORE.
Beautiful, isn’t it? They basically cultivate 4 hectares of vineyards with the help of animals. That means: low environmental impact, less pollution produced and less fuel used! Thanks to their feathered friends, approximately one hundred liters of fuel per hectare is saved each year.
Wouldn’t it be nice if more wineries sought the help of animals? Cost reduction, less pesticides, less pollution…[you add the benefit here]. Wouldn’t you be happier to buy a greener bottle of wine?
Please note that the images seen on this post do not belong to Banana In My Wine. They belong to “Pixabay” and “Vergenoegd Wine State”.