Police are looking for suspects after responding to a morning break in at a local winery last weekend.
“A light silver-blue Ford Explorer is possibly associated as it was seen in the area around the time of the offence. No description of the suspects is available at this time,” said Const. Kris Clark.
Anyone with any information is asked to call the West Kelowna RCMP at 250-768-2880. Remain anonymous by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477, leaving a tip online at www.crimestoppers.net or by texting your tip to CRIMES (274637) ktown.
There’s a silver lining to a weekend theft that left a local winery short of $30,000 worth of its most exclusive wines.
“Bad things happen in threes, and all three bad things have happened now,” said Walter Huber, owner of Hainle Vineyards which fell victim to thieves Sunday.
His unlucky streak started seven years ago when a bottle of 1978 icewine was nicked from a Vancouver wine show.
“That was devastating,” said Huber, noting that the bottle was appraised at nearly $1 million.
“We couldn’t replace that.”
Next there was the 2012 Peachland wildfire that took out a swath of his prized and historic vines—60 per cent of which sprouted new life this summer.
Then, Sunday, came what Huber hopes to be the final hit.
Following the promotion of Hainle Vineyards on a CHBC news feature, thieves broke into the cellar and loaded up with $30,000 bottles of ice wine, including a 1983 and 1984 ice wines that are worth around $18,000.
“On Sunday morning at 8:30 a.m., the alarm system went off, so I went over there and looked at it, which took me 15 minutes,” he said. “That means they went through the cellar very quickly between 8:30 a.m. and 8:45 a.m. and stole the icewine.”
It was a fast hit, and Huber thinks thieves should have considered their actions more carefully.
“They probably saw the news about exclusive and very rare wines, but selling them would be a stupid move… they would be caught right away,” he said, noting that the very thing that makes them exclusive would make them difficult to unload.
If that means they remain missing, however, Hainle Vineyards will move on. First task on the agenda will be to ramp up security, but Huber won’t shy from the spotlight that may have brought the negative attention his way.
“I will still show off (the wines), it’s part of our history in Canada. We were the first icewine maker,” he said.
And his vintages are ambassadors for the area, he believes.
He already has plans to set Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge up with some bottles by the time he’s of the age to imbibe.
And, as for the rest, it just offers the motivation to make more.