The wine estate on the Channel Island of Sark belonging to billionaire brothers the Barclays has been vandalised by local protestors.
Sark, infested: Sir David (left) and Sir Frederick Barclay
According to initial press reports, the perpetrators sabotaged at least 40,000 of the brother’s 100,000-strong vine stock by cutting the wires that supported the young vines.
The attack occurred early Saturday (3 November) morning, just hours before an official resident protest took place against the twins’ plan to convert 36 of the 74 hectares of land they own on Sark into vineyards.
Sir David and Sir Frederick Barclay, owners of the Daily Telegraph and London’s Ritz hotel, and on the point of closing a deal to take over the Savoy Group, the owner of Claridge’s, planted some 11ha of vineyards on Sark in 2009, as well as planting a small plot on the Island of Brecqhou, where they live.
Residents, and Sark’s Agriculture and Environment Committee, are embroiled in a bitter dispute with the Barclays, claiming the twins are attempting a corporate takeover of the semi-autonomous island. They already own one quarter of the land, and it is claimed they have planted or are going to plant vines on 31 fields, depriving farmers of their livelihoods.
In November 2011, Decanter.com reported that the Barclays, who are thought to be worth US$3.2bn, had invested heavily into the venture, building a new winery with the potential to produce 100 hectolitres of wine.
Kevin Delaney, managing director of the Sark Estate Management company, told the Times that repairs would cost, ‘tens of thousands of pounds.’
The Sark police are continuing their investigations.
Written by James Lawrence