Friday, February 1, 2008

The entree tonight? 'Ice swine'; Feeding pigs icewine a sweet experiment

The St. Catharines Standard, Thursday, January 31, 2008


As a premier chef at one of Niagara's top wineries, Frank Dodd routinely braises pork in fine wine.

Recently, two pigs arrived at Niagara-on-the-Lake's Hillebrand restaurant already soused.

For more than 40 days, the pair of Berkshire pigs reared at an Ingersoll, Ont.-area farm were fed a barley soybean mixture doused in 200 mL of icewine per day.

Starting in December, farmer Kevin Rivers religiously poured his young pampered pigs a serving of a 2006 Trius Vidal icewine, which sells for $49.95 per 375 mL bottle.

Not a cheap food source.

Hillebrand donated two cases (12 bottles per case) of the sweet dessert wine, made from naturally frozen grapes, in the spirit of an experiment.

The idea came to Rivers' wife, Allyson MacDonald, a wine aficionado and veterinarian who read about Australian beef cattle producers who fed red wine to their stock to satisfy the whim of the "white table cloth" Japanese market.

The couple decided to pitch the plan to Dodd, who saw it as a chance to jazz up his restaurant's luxurious icewine dinner, which was held on Saturday.

Rare Berkshire pigs, which originated in Britain, have a reputation for taking longer to fatten, but produce juicy, flavourful meat.

How You Can Help

Pigs are very intelligent animals and form complex social bonds with each other. They should be treated with dignity and respect, not slaughtered because their flesh tastes good.

Please write to The Standard about this story and call or write to Hillebrand and let them know how you feel about their "experiment."

Hillebrand Estates Winery
1249 Niagara Stone Road
Niagara On The Lake, ON
L0S 1J0
Phone: (905) 468-7123
Toll free: (800) 582-8412
Fax: (905) 468-4789

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