Five avoidable wastes of wine that made us cryFeature of the week
Whether you’re a wine connoisseur or just enjoy a glass after work, it’s always a shame when good wine gets wasted. While you may scream at the nightmare stain when some red gets into the carpet, your inner oenophile is also silently crying at seeing it go undrinked. Some may even consider licking it off, though they may need to seek help.
If one spilled bottle of wine is nearly enough to make you moan like a wounded walrus, imagine seeing truckloads of perfectly good wine being wasted right in front of you. These spills have happened more than once and they create an almost biblical sea of blood signalling the end of the world, and for true wine aficionados – it might as well be.
2016: When winemakers hijacked five wine tankers and poured it down the motorway
In April, angry French winemakers hijacked five Spanish tankers in protest to the lower production costs of Spanish and Italian wine imports to France. They also asserted that Spanish wines had been falsely labeled and made in South America.
In a symbolic and dramatic gesture the winemakers decided to open the tankers, and much to the surprise of those driving by, flood the motorway. Roughly 90,000 bottles worth of wine was poured away.
2012: When vandals broke in and spilled 80,000 litres of Brunello di Montalcino
In Italy there’s a popular wine called Brunello di Montalcino. Bottles often go for around £405 – that’s a little out of the range for those who dread breaking the £20 barrier.
Sadly, this wine became even less affordable when vandals broke into the vineyard, destroyed the security glass, uncorked the wine barrels in the cellar and let 80,000 litres loose. Perhaps unsurprisingly for such a distinctive wine, the police could smell it before they arrived at the crime scene.
2011: When the forklift operator dropped the ball… and the shiraz wine
Bottles of Mollydooker Velvet Glove shiraz cost up to £122 each, meaning that 462 crates of it has to be handled with extreme care. Unfortunately, one forklift operator hadn’t received the memo and accidently dropped 462 cases valued at £664,000.
One can only imagine the operator’s fear as the case fell. Of course, it proved to be quite a big blow for the winemakers as well. The destroyed bottles reportedly represented a third of its annual production.
The winemaker, Sparky Marquis, announced that: “When they opened up the container they said it was like a murder scene. But it smelled phenomenal.” Fortunately for the forklift operator, the wine was insured.
2005: When a wine warehouse was set ablaze
Mark Anderson became an enemy to the entire wine sector overnight when he set a large wine warehouse ablaze in order to cover up several embezzlement charges.
The blaze destroyed around 6 million bottles, valued at up to $100million. The embezzlement charges were incurred due to Anderson selling his clients’ wine without permission. Unfortunately, such cases aren’t uncommon. As fine wine investment experts The London Wine Cellar say, there’s a lot of risk and a lack of transparency in the industry.
What made this crime truly unforgivable was that this was a wine storage venue for several wine makers and some had to shut down. Sterling Vineyards lost $37 million in wine and many other groups lost their ability to fill supermarket shelves and restaurants.
Dubbed the greatest crime in wine history, the event has had a book written about it. According to the US attorney’s office, the indirect cost equated to potentially $277 million in losses.
2008: When we wasted good wine
We’re all guilty of leaving out a bit of unfinished wine and pouring it down the sink. But when added together, there’s an awful amount of good wine being thrown out by the UK.
In 2008, a report by WRAP revealed that large quantities of wine was being poured down the drain because it had expired. Most of it was found to be in acceptable condition, which they assume meant too much was being served and left unfinished. If you regularly attend wine tastings and parties, you probably already knew this.
Roughly 48 thousand tonnes of wine was thrown away in a year, coming in at a total value of around £470 million. What’s especially shocking about this report, for wine aficionados at least, is that this wine goes down the drain before its time.
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