Montreal

The grape escape: Thieves steal 500 kilos from Rougemont winery

A vinery in the Montérégie is out more than $5,000 after thieves snuck in and stole 500 kilograms-worth of grapes.

Vignoble et Cidrerie Coteau Rougemont says theft is worth $5.6K, equivalent to around 350 bottles of wine

Benoit Giroussens, the vineyard manager at Vignoble et Cidrerie Coteau Rougemont, said thieves ripped the grapes off the vines and stuffed them into garbage bags. They left a few behind. (Sarah Leavitt/CBC)

It was supposed to be Benoit Giroussens's very last harvest of the season.

Instead, he spent the day assessing the damage to his vines and mourning the loss of almost 500 kilograms of white wine grapes.

"It's really frustrating to see all the work from the last year was just wasted," said Giroussens, the vineyard manager at Vignoble et Cidrerie Coteau Rougemont.

On the morning of October 22, Giroussens discovered thieves had stolen away with grapes from the winery and cidery in the Montérégie.

The theft is equivalent to $5,600 or 350 bottles of wine of the Vidal blanc variety.

"We must have surprised them in the morning because there were grapes left behind, even garbage bags full of grapes were left," he said.

"We think they came in with ATVs or a tractor and just ripped the grapes straight off the vine."

The grapes left behind by the thieves are no longer fresh and can't be used. (Sarah Leavitt/CBC)

For Giroussens, the loss of the grapes is bad news, but what's worse is the damage done to the vines.

"I am not sure the vines along this row will recover because of the way the thieves stole the grapes."

The Sûreté du Québec says so far, no arrests have been made, but an investigation into the theft is ongoing.

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