Vanished Grapes and Burrowing Burglars: Wine Crime Unseen

A Canadian vineyard and an English wine shop are the latest victims

Vanished Grapes and Burrowing Burglars: Wine Crime Unseen
Black garbage bags were the only evidence left behind at Coteau Rougemont's illicitly harvested vineyard. (Courtesy of Coteau Rougemont)
Nov 13, 2020

Michel Robert, owner of Coteau Rougemont winery in Quebec, was expecting his last parcel of Vidal Blanc grapes to be picked when his workers raised the alarm: Harvest had already happened. Upon arriving, Robert found the vines' protective netting lifted and empty black garbage bags on the ground. Roughly half a ton of grapes, equivalent to more than 25 cases of wine, had vanished.

"We suspect that they came through the orchard at the back, since that parcel is not visible from the road, so the thieves knew that it was there," Robert told Unfiltered. "We suspect it's more than one person." The rest of the 12,000-case annual production of Coteau Rougemont Vidal Réserve is well on its way to bottle, but at $21 a pop, the theft represented nearly $7,000 of finished wine.

Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, a wine store in Nottingham, England, has lost more than $65,000 worth of inventory to three burglaries. According to the Nottinghamshire Police report, the thefts were perpetrated from a neighboring property through a hole in the wall of the store’s cellar (sounds familiar …). A 39-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the crimes, the last of which took place Oct. 23.

"It's really important to us that we're protecting businesses during this really difficult time for them," detective Sean Davison, who is investigating the incident, said in a statement. "Clearly this is a huge hit to someone's livelihood and we will do everything we can to bring those responsible to justice."


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