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Sauternes producer says tenth of 2013 harvest stolen

A Sauternes wine producer has said it has lost a tenth of its normal grape haul after they were harvested overnight by someone else.

Around EUR20,000-worth of grapes were stripped from 13 rows of vines under the cover of darkness at Chateau Suau in Barsac (pictured) earlier this month.

The stolen grapes represent about 10% of the seven-hectare estate’s annual harvest, said owner Corinne Biarnès.

‘It was done very correctly, there was no vandalism, the grapes were carefully harvested,’ she told decanter.com. ‘The person must have been a bit short and the plot is far from the road.’

She added, ‘to be stolen from by a fellow wine producer – there are no words to describe it’.

Biarnès is certain the grapes from Suau, which is a second cru classé producing about 20,000 bottles annually, could only have been stolen with the express purpose of boosting production volumes at another Sauternes estate.

Despite reporting it to the police, however, she believes there is little hope of finding out exactly what happened.

She said her primary concern now, having already lost about 20% of her harvest due to the poor 2013 weather conditions, is whether her insurance company will compensate her for the robbery. ‘They said no at first, but now they are saying maybe.’

Written by Sophie Kevany

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