Theft thwarts London grape harvest

Plans to create a wine made from grapes in Richmond, London, have been called off after losing three quarters of the crop the day before harvest.

Although the cause is still unknown, “the neat and uniform manner of removal” has led those behind the initiative to suspect humans rather than birds are to blame.

The original plan to resurrect Richmond’s 17th century winemaking history was created by locally-based online wine merchant Red Squirrel Wine and East Dulwich wine bar and shop, Green & Blue.

“We are of course enormously disappointed to have our hopes of a good crop, however diminutive, dashed at the eleventh hour,” commented Nik Darlington, founder of Red Squirrel Wine, who promised: “we’ll be better prepared next year”.

Despite the disappointment, Darlington said: “I hope it has raised a bit of awareness about Richmond’s viticultural past and shown the potential, even if like our predecessors the exercise hasn’t exactly borne fruit.

“And with grape harvests around Europe down by as much as 70% this year, Richmond’s shown we’re also not immune to the vagaries of nature.

“Thankfully for us it was just for some fun and a challenge, so no one’s going to go hungry as a result. Certainly not the culprits, at any rate!”

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