Hot on the heels of my recent Blog on Counterfeit wines two instances of theft have been reported in the Press. The trade is being warned to be on the lookout for stolen wine after the theft of 57 cases en route to Berry Bros & Rudd and more than 3,000 bottles of red wine and pink champagne, worth £32,000, have been stolen in a burglary at Nutbourne Vineyards.
The theft of wine from Berry Bros & Rudd involved the wine being stolen from a lorry in transit from Italy to the UK. A total of 342 bottles of Rosso di Montalcino 2007, Az. Agr. San Giuseppe, were stolen overnight on November 24 from a secure pound used by the shipping company. Berrys’ wine director, Alun Griffiths MW, said: “We would just like to warn anyone that is offered this wine from an unfamiliar supplier that it may be stolen goods”.
The theft at Nutbourne Vineyards occurred when burglars forced their way through the entrance gates and into a storage barn, where specifically red wine and pink champagne were chosen. Twenty cases (240 bottles) of French Lagashe Rose Champagne were stolen, and Nutbourne Vineyards is apparently the only importer of this particular pink champagne in the country. The following quality red wine was also stolen: 110 cases (1,320 bottles) of Lagashe Brute, 77 cases (924 bottles) of Chateau Tour St Bonnet, 60 cases (720 bottles) of Chateau La Barronne and 40 cases (480 bottles) of Chateau D’avigny.
PC Lara Simpson said: “A large amount of wine and champagne has been stolen, which would have taken some time to load on to a vehicle or vehicles. Anyone with information is urged to contact police on 0845 60 70 999 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”
Nowadays more wine is being stolen to order as thieves realise the value of fine wine. I have blogged about this in the past (see Wine Stolen to Order and Great Wine Robberies). However I am more concerned about the trend in burglaries from private cellars – there have been a number of thefts recently – between 200 and 300 bottles were stolen from a cellar in Hadleigh and back in the Spring wine thieves snatched rare and valuable bottles worth almost £4,000 from a Lincolnshire pub.
This haul of French wine was stolen from the private collection of a Landlord who had bought it as an investment and was going to sell it at auction. The 7 cases of stolen wine were stored in an outhouse attached to the pub and were not insured, resulting in the Landlord having to bear the cost of the loss himself.
I must admit to being quite taken aback by this particular story as although the Landlord has my sympathies he should have been keeping his fine wine correctly cellared – preferably in a specialist warehouse – and had it insured! Correct cellaring is vitally important, especially if you are intending to sell your wine . . . put it this way if you are a potential customer intending to spend thousands of pounds on your purchase would you buy your wine from a chap who had stored it in a shed? Not only could the contents of the bottle have been compromised by irregular temperatures but the provenance of the wine is also put at risk.
I have been hammering home the point that provenance is a must when purchasing your fine wine for some time now and without it you may find that your wine is worthless as there is no proof that it is genuine or that it has been cellared or kept in storage correctly.
I am not into scare mongering but if you do have fine wines stored at home please ensure that they are stored securely and insured at current market value. As the scarcity of fine wines becomes more evident, coupled with the poor economic climate, I am sure this will not be last time we hear of burglaries of such items so please do take the required precautions.