Thoughts on the Bordeaux 2009 Vintage and Potential Theft

Back in 2009, I wrote about Wine Being Stolen to Order when 57 cases were stolen en route to Berry Bros & Rudd and more than 3,000 bottles of red wine and pink champagne, worth £32,000, were 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 from a secure pound used by the shipping company. We regularly check our cases stored at the Corsham Cellars at Octavian Vaults and Vinothèque Wine Cellars, who are part of London City Bond and I had a very interesting conversation recently concerning the value of the 2009s.

Given the increased value of the 2009 vintage due to the price hike at their release at En Primeur these wines are like liquid gold.

Bordeaux is top of the thieves’ shopping list as the returns of a managed cellar have exceeded that of the FTSE for over 3 decades. This fact has not been overlooked by organised gangs . . . and these thieves certainly know their wines!

Octavian Vaults have been delivering storage and logistics for 20 years and Corsham Cellars lie 100 feet below the hills of Wiltshire and are encased in solid Bath stone and Vinothèque

Wine Cellars is housed in a 19thcentury Victorian grade II industrial building in Burton Upon Trent. Its metre-thick, red brick walls ensure a constant and steady temperature.

Security is boosted by CCTV cameras that monitor every angle and corner of the building. A security company – the same firm that protects the major banks and high value businesses elsewhere in the area – has 24/7 security patrols, and there are, of course, all the usual security checks and monitors on all staff and visitors to and from the site.

The main concern is not theft from the bonded warehouses but from wines in transit to them. Will trucks now have to have a security escort to avoid hijack?

If you consider that trucks sometimes carry veritable fortunes on their backs worth up to 500 000 or even 1 million euros is it putting temptation in criminals paths? I know that most of the trucksare tracked via GPS, that the drivers only park in secure areas and that the container doors are all sealed but will that stop an organised gang?

The other issue is that we will see insurance premiums rise for wine merchants and bonded warehouses transporting the wines to the UK and customers homes.

I think this is something to watch for the future and am reassured that Octavian and Vinothèque Wine Cellars are aware of the problem.

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