French Vineyards Robbed During Year With Small Yields

By Neat Pour Staff |

As harvest season arrives, small yields in high profile regions like Bordeaux are creating a new fear among vintners: large scale grape theft. To make matters even worse, there are reported cases where thieves are making off with entire vines. Although stolen grapes are nothing new to the wine world, this year’s projected small harvest is causing increased desperation.

Two separate well coordinated thefts in Bordeaux have left some of the region’s winemakers devastated. Over 6 metric tons of grapes were harvested and stolen overnight in Génissac, not far from Saint Emilion reported the Agency France-Presse. In neighboring Pomerol, over 600 kilos of fruit were stolen as well. The article notes that police describe the heists as the work of pro thieves winemakers.

“There’s a great temptation to help oneself from [the vineyard] next door.”

At a smaller vineyard in Montagne, uprooted 500 grape vines and made off with them in the “dark of night” reported AFP.

If that was not enough, some media outlets have noted that an addition grape robbery in Lalande-de-Pomerol may be part of the pattern.

Authorities speculate that the robberies are likely the work of naughty negociants lacking enough fruit to make their own wine. France is facing its smallest harvest since 1945, and a double digit decrease from 2016, which was already one of the smallest in recent decades. Ironically, summer heat waves after the spring frosts are expected to deliver top quality wines for the 2017 vintage across much of France.

AFP snagged a great quote from an unnamed industry insider, “There’s a great temptation to help oneself from [the vineyard] next door.”

The French Ministry of Agriculture predicted a 2017 juice output of 37.2 million hectoliters (983 million US gallons), a drop of 18% from 2016.

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