‘Winegrowers vendetta’ fears over axed €100,000 grapevine

Police are investigating after a priceless grapevine was chopped to pieces.The plant was discovered at an unused estate in Eisenstadt, Burgenland, one and a half years ago. Examinations revealed it was several hundred years old and worth around 100,000 Euros since it was found to be a unique precursor of the Grüner Veltliner.The white wine grape variety is one of the most common harvests of vintners in Austria. Tens of thousands of bottles of the variety are sold in the country and all over the world every year.Now police in Burgenland have announced that the precious grapevine has been found cut to pieces. A spokesman said today (Fri) that a tree growing close to the plant had been axed as well. He explained that officers are assuming it was an act of vandalism, but added that investigations were being carried out “in all possible directions”.Local media claim the destruction of the grapevine – which has become an object of research since its discovery – could be the latest act in a vendetta among rivalling vintners. Some winemakers have reportedly been angered about their competitors’ rise to fame by becoming involved in scientific projects regarding the unique wine stock.Burgenland is one of the country’s main wine-growing regions. An increasing number of columnists and magazine critics have ranked red and white wines from the small Austrian province among the finest in Europe.Austrian vintners exported 60 million litres of red and white wine last year, 13.7 per cent less than in the previous year. Austria became the major export country of wine to Germany in 2010. The United States and Chile had done best in that regard before Austria claimed first place.