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Vines hacked down in Pessac

Pessac Léognan property Château Cantelys has had 800 vines hacked down in a possible case of mistaken identity.

The parcels of Merlot, planted in 1994, were in an isolated spot and the only vines in the vicinity not yet harvested. Pickers managed to save most of the fruit from the destroyed vines.

Owner Daniel Cathiard is at a loss to understand why his vines should be attacked, although one possible theory is that he was targetted in error.

There is no clear division between his vines and those of neighbouring Château de Rochemorin, which is owned by André Lurton, owner of a large number of properties in Bordeaux and already a target for protests against the economic crisis in the region.

In April this year vines were symbolically pulled up at Lurton’s property Chateau Bonnet in Entre-deux-Mers.

‘I can’t imagine who would do this as we have no enemies,’ said Cathiard, who with his wife Florence owns the 30ha estate, as well Graves cru classé Château Smith-Haut-Lafitte.

The destroyed vines were discovered last Sunday (18 September) by Cantelys and Smith-Haut-Lafitte technical director Fabien Teitgen.

‘I was out walking the vineyard to see whether it was ready for harvesting when I discovered two parcels of 400 plants with their trunks cut through,’ he said.

As for the vines, they will be pulled up and the parcels replanted next spring. ‘We’re not insured for this sort of eventuality so we’ll have to absorb the cost,’ Cathiard said.

A police investigation is under way.

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April 19, 2005

Written by James Lawther

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