Vandals hit winery in pocket

By Sam Hurley

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An "incredibly rare and strange" act of vandalism on a Hawke's Bay winery will cost the owners 8250 bottles of market wine, and potentially an exporting contract to Japan.

On Saturday morning staff from Moana Park winery, near Napier, arrived to find 6000 litres of wine, valued at $165,000, had spilled on the ground.

Owner and winemaker Dan Barker said the "devastating" loss had damaged the immediate and long-term future of the business, which includes the potential loss of a current contract to Japanese supermarkets.

"We don't have any wine for that contract now.

"We spend a year growing and we book the stuff into the market well in advance."

He said Moana Park is quite a small Hawke's Bay winery and the losses would be felt for a while.

"If we lose the export contract the cost could be very significant, not just in the value of the wine today but in future profits as the business grows.

"We have had the contract for about seven or eight years now and we were just starting to see some traction with it."

Mr Barker said he hadn't noticed any further damage to the winery or stolen equipment but noted the property would have been easily accessed by the offender, or offenders.

"We are not sure if any of the wine was actually stolen, but the way it has spilled onto the ground it would have gone all over them."

He said the valve on the tank had a mechanical lock and couldn't accidentally be released.

Police were informed of the incident and have visited the winery to search for fingerprints.

"The wine washed away everything, so everything is gone, we can't tell if there was a car involved or anything."

The winery is insured and Mr Barker said the insurance claim for the spilled wine "looks to be positive so far."

He hoped someone would come forward with information on those responsible.

 

- Hawkes Bay Today

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