Winemaker pleads guilty to draining rival’s tanks
A Barossa Valley winemaker has dramatically confessed to destroying more than AUS$60,000 of Shiraz and Chardonnay by draining the tanks of a rival winemaker on the first day of his trial.
Trevor Jones, 59, was first charged with criminal trespass and property damage at Kellermeister Wines in Lyndoch in South Australia’s Barossa Valley in 2015, following the alleged incident in February.
Jones was accused of opening the taps on four tanks of Chardonnay and Shiraz on Sunday, 22 February, at the winery, which Jones’ parents had founded in 1976. The winery was sold to Mark Pearce in 2012 after Ralph Jones retired. Trevor Jones had previously worked at the winery but left to start Trevor Jones Fine Wines, also in Lyndoch, in 2010.
In August of that year it looked as if the charges against Jones would be dropped, after his defence moved to have the case thrown out citing an “absolute lack” of evidence against him.
His defence pointed to the CCTV footage, which it said was not clear enough to identify Jones – as the man in the video is wearing a hat – and the time and date of the footage, which it said did not match those of his alleged actions. It also stated that the fingerprints found on the tank were not his and there were no traces of mud or wine on the clothes he was supposedly wearing at the time.
However in September 2015 the case was revived, with prosecutors formally re-laying charges against Jones, leading to a trial that was due to begin today in Adelaide.
However in a dramatic twist, Trevor David Jones entered a plea of guilty to two counts of damaging property at Kellermeister Wines at Lyndoch in February 2015 ahead of proceedings in Adelaide’s District Court. The prosecution dropped the remaining three charges.
As reported by ABC, Jones’s lawyer Mark Griffin QC told the court full restitution would be made in coming months, and that a number of character references would be called when the matter returns to court for sentencing.
Jones remains on bail ahead of sentencing in October.