It's a ripening mystery: Who's stealing the wine grapes of Germany?
Thieves raiding lucrative southern German vineyards have made off with a minor fortune in fruit over more than a dozen forays under the cover of darkness.
Vintners have increased vigilance, posted guards and sought help from the police, but so far, the thieves have made off without a trace.
“They picked off more than 2,500 kilograms of my best red grapes,” said Stephan Attmann, who runs a vineyard near Deidesheim. Attmann estimates his losses so far this season at some $137,700 more than 3,000 bottles of high-class Pinot Noir selling for €32 a bottle. He said he did not have any kind of insurance that covered the losses.
While most of this year's grapes have been picked, vintners are still waiting for the first autumn frost to reap their lucrative ice wine grapes.
Sweet high-class ice wines are even more expensive than regular wines, making the remaining grapes a likely prime target for the thieves.