Thieves steal 300 bottles from Herbert Hall

A break-in at English winery Herbert Hall last night has resulted in the theft of 300 bottles of the estate’s unreleased 2015 brut.

Owner Nicholas Hall tweeted about the theft this morning noting the lot number that was targeted (1-2015) and asking the trade to be alert to bottles appearing “on the cheap” in unusual places.

The bottles in question were part of a consignment that was destined for one of the winery’s clients, the Caprice Group (a luxury restaurant group in London).

Speaking to the drinks business Hall said: “They basically went for the stuff that was packaged and ready to go.”

Although the 300 bottles does not represent a critical proportion of the estate’s production (about 15,000 bottles a year on average), it’s still a very small scale winery and a lot of the work such as degorging, bottling and packaging is done by hand so any unnecessary loss is frustrating.

“It’s always depressing when someone comes along and does that,” said Hall.

The rest of the 2015 stock is due to be sold on allocation in September next year.

Founded in 2007 and covering just four hectares in the southern English county of Kent, Herbert Hall has earned numerous plaudits over the years and has an enviable list of top on- and off-trade stockists.

The winery was also chosen by the prince of Wales to make a special ‘Highgrove Cuvée’.

Sadly, this is not the first break-in at an English winery in recent years. In February 2015 Bolney in West Sussex suffered an extremely bad burglary where several thousand bottles worth £80,000 were taken and two men were jailed last year for attempting to steal £26,000 worth of wine from Denbies.

Merchants including Berry Bros & Rudd have also been targeted and outside of the UK wine thefts have taken place at restaurants in the US and wineries in Barolo, Bordeaux and Champagne.

Earlier this year thieves in Paris used the city’s catacombs to tunnel into a private cellar and made off with €250,000 worth of fine wine.

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