South African wine heist in London 'planned'
- Thursday 17 September 2009
South African Wines Online, the specialist wine importer which owns the warehouse, was alerted to the robbery in the early hours of Monday morning by the warehouse manager.
The facility contained over 20,000 bottles of wine from 800 different producers.
Early indications suggest that the robbery was meticulously organised.
‘It was definitely planned quite carefully’, Julia Holbrook, sales and marketing manager for South African Wines Online told decanter.com. ‘They cut our telephone lines, waited for the call out and any activity as a result, and then broke in.’
Holbrook believes that the thieves had a good knowledge of South African wines and knew exactly what they were looking for. Many of the most expensive wines in their range were stolen, around 3000 bottles.
Some of the wines taken included Vergelegen V, a premium single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon from the prestigious Vergelegen estate in the Western Cape of South Africa. Wines from Paul Cluver, including his much sought after Pinot Noir Seven Flags and Steenberg vineyards’ Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc blend, Magna Carta, were also stolen.
Crucially, many of these wines have sold out and are irreplaceable.
New video: How to store wine, with Steven Spurrier