Baboons with a taste for Chardonnay grapes are terrorizing farmers in South Africa’s Western Cape wine region, munching tonnes of grapes ready for harvesting, local media reported on Monday.
Farms in the Franschhoek Valley had been emptied by rampaging Chachma baboons, who sneak into secured plots and help themselves with top grade grapes, The Times newspaper said.
“They can easily wipe out up to two tonnes of grapes a week when you are not watching, and that makes about 1,500 to 2,000 bottles of wine,” said Mark Dendy-Young, farm manager of La Petite Ferme.
Dendy-Young said he had lost up to 40 percent of his harvest last month to the baboons.
He said the thieving was unwittingly taking farmers back to the traditional ways of French wine making, where few grapes are harvested.
“In some parts of France, they would let you yield only a small amount… the baboons are doing it naturally for us,” said Dendy-Young.