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Delhi Wine Club

Posted: Friday, 21 May 2010 11:14

Watch out for the Vine Terrorist

While India might still be a few years away, countries like the US might want to take a serious look at the possibility of their vineyards being the target of extremists who may poison the vines or simply try to extort money by threatening to poison the wide spread vineyards, as had recently happened with the famous Grand Cru vineyard of Burgundy.

A man, an ex-con from Marne who had previously worked in Burgundy vineyards  had sent threatening letters to Domaine  Romanée-Conti, asking for a ransom of  € 1 million earlier this year, threatening to poison the vineyards otherwise. He was arrested by the French police as he tried to pick up a fake ransom.

According to Romanée-Conti co- director Aubert de Villaine, (who was recently feted as the Decanter Man of the Year, and was reported in a recent issue of delWine) identical letters were also sent to Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé, threatening to poison their Musigny vines.

"The Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé received a package sent from Paris in January containing a very detailed map of the Musigny grand cru vineyard," sales director Jean-Luc Pépin reportedly told Wine Spectator. "In the second letter received in January it was written that if the Domaine didn't hand over a few hundred thousand Euros, they would poison the vines. To prove their determination, the extortionist said they had already treated two vines with a product that would kill them. One of these two vines was immediately pulled out and handed over to investigators."

De Villaine says DRC simultaneously received identical letters threatening the monopole grand cru Romanée-Conti. Two vines were also supposedly treated. When DRC notified the police, they had de Villaine write back to the extortionist, setting up a fake ransom drop late at night in a small cemetery in nearby Chambolle-Musigny .

As for the two "treated" vines still in the ground, de Villaine reports that the one at Romanée-Conti appears healthy. Authorities have yet to determine what substance the accused may have used.

De Villaine is now concerned about the other vineyards. "Of course, this idea is now in the air and it is worrying," he said, "not only for us, but for all the great vineyards in the world."


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