The owners of Grand Rêve Vineyard in Red Mountain, Washington are reeling after an unexpected and mind boggling crime: sometime over the last week $4000 worth of rare grapes were stolen right out of their vineyard. Coined 'The Great Grape Caper of Red Mountain' the theft was clearly well planned and cleverly executed as the thieves made off with a ton (literally) of very specific and exotic grapes called Bushvine Mourvedre. Because they ignored every other kind of grape and did such a clean and complete job it's being considered the work of professionals. "Whoever it was, knew what they were doing." said Ryan Johnson, one of the vineyard partners and manager. "They were very thorough."
Mourvedre grapes are usually only found in areas of southern France and are often used in valuable, high end wine. 'Head trained' to grow as a bush instead of on a long trailing vine, they're particularly labor intensive and this harvest was a bit of an experiment that started way back in 2008. "The most frustrating thing about this is we waited three years to see what these vines would do," said Johnson. "This was our opportunity to see what the future might hold for us."
At this time authorities have no suspects but think it was an 'inside job' by someone familiar with the tightly-knit Washington wine community. Paul McBride, the other partner at Grand Rêve, said "For somebody in the state to think 'Gosh, I have just got to have that Bushvine Mourvedre,' that takes a real wine geek." Plus the thieves had to know where the grapes were, how and when to harvest them, and have a means to quickly sell them or make wine. This was no spur of the moment effort.
If there's any bright spot in this dark cloud it's that the thieves may not have gotten quite as great a bunch of grapes as they could have. According to Johnson "The grapes are good right now, but if they'd waited another 10 days, what they got would have been absolutely phenomenal. They missed out."
The stolen grapes are valued at about $4000 but estimates put the wine they would have made at worth over $30,000.
By Rigel Celeste | Source :: www.luxist.com