Germany: Thieves steal entire vineyard of grapes worth €8,000 in broad daylight
Hassloch, Germany, October 2, 2018 (AltAfrica)-Police in the southern German town of Hassloch reported on Monday that thieves had made off with an entire vineyard of wine grapes in broad daylight. The devious criminals made off with €8,000 ($9,242) worth of Riesling white wine grapes.
“The unknown offenders used a professional harvesting machine over the entire surface” of the vineyard, according to the police report.
The crime was carried out on Wednesday between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.. The thieves absconded with 1,600 kilograms (3,527 pounds) of grapes in the village of Deidesheim, just north of Hassloch.
Deidesheim lies in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate, which despite its small size is home to six of Germany’s 13 wine-producing regions. The area is especially famous for riesling, but is also home to the Schloss Wachenheim Group, the worldwide leader in sparkling wine production. The 13,000 vintners in the area account for 90 percent of Germany’s wine exports
The development is particularly sad for the owner as Germany’s winegrowers expect an above-average harvest this year, the government statistics office Destatis predicted
A 9.75-million-hectoliter (one hectolitre equals 100 liters) total harvest is expected this year — 1 million hectoliters higher than the five-year average between 2012 and 2017, and 2 million more than last year’s unusually low yield.
The crop for Germany’s most popular wine variety, Riesling, is expected to almost quadruple in size, going from 557,000 hectoliters last year to an expected 2.08 million.
The German Wine Institute (DWI) is optimistic not only about the extent of 2018’s harvest, but also about the quality of the vintage.
“We will have very good yields and also very good quality,” the DWI’s Ernst Büscher said. “The condition of the grapes is abnormally good because of the very sunny and dry weather that’s persisting.”