HOME > Chowhound > Wine >
Do you create unique foods? Get great advice

Wine Crop Stolen in France

smkit Oct 3, 2010 03:15 PM

I thought this article was interesting. Thieves made off with an entire grape crop overnight.


  1. Chemicalkinetics Oct 3, 2010 03:45 PM

    If it is rival growers, then it will be easy. First, there are only so many growers. Second, not all growers care to steal, it must be done by someone the farmer knows.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Chemicalkinetics
      smkit Oct 3, 2010 05:43 PM

      It stil takes balls to get into a harvester and steal a field of grapes for several hours.

      1. re: smkit
        Chemicalkinetics Oct 3, 2010 05:50 PM

        I know. Or take a lot of hatred. If you hate someone enough, you can do the what you normally cannot.

        1. re: smkit
          sunshine842 Oct 3, 2010 10:02 PM

          and it's not going to be all that difficult to suss out who has a sudden, dramatic increase in their production overnight.

          (Because I don't see a French farmer dumping that many grapes, which would be discovered in a few days anyway -- even a p.o.'d French farmer couldn't destroy that many good grapes.)

      2. kaleokahu Oct 4, 2010 10:08 AM

        Wow. Did they salt the earth afterward? Maybe there is a Hell.

        Or... perhaps Inspector Clouseau should inquire whether the grower carried insurance on his harvest and look for large sums of cash. Paid twice, no effort, it'd be good work if you can get it!

        1 Reply
        1. re: kaleokahu
          smkit Oct 4, 2010 11:34 AM

          Hell is when you steal a grape crop and then your wine maker dies so you can't make wine of it.

        2. SteveTimko Oct 4, 2010 07:25 PM

          The Decanter story on which that report was based said there was 30 tons of grapes.
          30 tons of grapes worth $20,000? Sorry, but that's less than they get in Lodi for their grapes. Langedoc produces some nice Rhones, but it ain't exactly a hotbed for cabernet sauvignon.

          6 Replies
          1. re: SteveTimko
            sunshine842 Oct 4, 2010 11:29 PM

            You also don't see much California wine showing up on the retail shelf for $3 and under, which Languedoc wines frequently do here in France....if they're going to RETAIL it for US$3-5 (yes, 1,5 to 3 euros), then they're not spending much on the grapes.

            Languedoc is sort of a bastard region -- they don't have many appellations of their own, but they produce some pretty drinkable table wines....so with no AOC, there's no price premium....so Languedoc wines end up selling at the bottom of the price scale.

            1. re: sunshine842
              RicRios Oct 5, 2010 09:47 AM

              "Languedoc is sort of a bastard region ..."

              All I can say is, these are some EXCELLENT Languedocs I purchased recently in the US.
              All top notch, excellent qpr, I'd buy again anytime without blinking.

              2004 Languedoc Domaine de L'Hortus (Jean Orliac ) Pic Saint Loup Grande Cuvée $24.95
              2005 Languedoc Mas Belles Eaux Les Coteaux $17.99 ( owned by AXA )
              2005 Languedoc Domaine de L'Hortus (Jean Orliac ) Pic Saint Loup Grande Cuvée $24.95
              2000 Domaine de la Grange des Peres VDP de l'Herault $60.00

              1. re: RicRios
                sunshine842 Oct 5, 2010 11:05 AM

                the "bastard region" comment stems from the fact that there are no protected appelations in the region....so they're all labeled as table wine.

                I didn't say a word about the quality...nor does it change what I said about Languedoc wines appearing at retail for less than US$5 a bottle, which means that they're buying the grapes for very, very little...thus US$20,000 (roughly 15 000 euros) for 30 tons of grapes isn't particularly shocking.

                I also said those very cheap wines were pretty drinkable.

                1. re: sunshine842
                  carswell Oct 5, 2010 11:19 AM

                  «the "bastard region" comment stems from the fact that there are no protected appelations in the region....so they're all labeled as table wine»

                  What?! There are several AOCs in the Languedoc. Côteaux du Languedoc is the obvious example, but there's also Clairette du Languedoc, Faugères, St-Chinian, Minervois, Corbières, Fitou and I could go on.

                  1. re: carswell
                    RicRios Oct 5, 2010 12:19 PM

                    Côteaux du Languedoc AOC became Languedoc AOC in 2007.
                    The complete list as of 2011 of AOCs in the Languedoc-Roussillon region is:

                    [Languedoc proper]

                    Blanquette méthode ancestrale

                    [Vins doux naturels du Languedoc]


                    [Vins doux naturels du Rousillon]
                    Banyuls grand cru

                    1. re: RicRios
                      sunshine842 Oct 5, 2010 01:55 PM

                      But there isn't a single one of those selling for pocket change at retail...which is the point that every seems to be hellbent on avoiding at any cost.


          2. maria lorraine Oct 4, 2010 07:33 PM

            This happens often, or more often that you might imagine. Several reports of stolen crops currently out there.

            1 Reply
            1. re: maria lorraine
              carswell Oct 5, 2010 05:29 PM

              And it's been happening for a long, long time. The owner of Clos Triguedina in Cahors recently introduced a "vin de lune" line in homage to the practice: "For the 'Moon Wines,' the grapes are harvested in the cool of dawn. Jean-Luc Baldès wanted to reproduce a wine of this name made in the 17th century, when peasant farmers used to pick the grapes during the night so as to purloin part of the local lord's harvest and thus also have to pay him less in taxes." http://www.jlbaldes.com/catalog/vins-...

            Show Hidden Posts