Blackwood Lane Vineyards and Winery was the victim of a planned and targeted robbery, according its president.
Carlos Lee said the winery only makes 1,000 to 5,000 cases of wine per year (12 bottles per case) so the loss of so more than 5,200 bottles is a real blow.
"It's huge," he said of the theft's impact on the winery in South Aldergrove.
The winery opened in 2005 and has quickly made a name for itself in the industry. The products are served in five-star eateries in Canada and abroad, with a growing market in Asia.
The amount Blackwood Lane produces is dependent on the quality of the grapes at its 12.2 acre site in Langley and from the speciality growers it buys from in the Okanagan.
"Everything is hand crafted," he explained.
The RCMP was contacted on July 19 about the break-in.
"The owner locked up the winery just after 6 p.m., upon returning the next morning at 11 a.m., he noticed the gate lock had been cut and the wine cellar compromised," explained RCMP Sgt. Ravi Pawar.
Taken were three pallets of 2007 Alliance, one pallet plus 16 cases of 2006 Alliance, and one pallet of cabernet sauvignon, and one pallet of ros, totalling in excess of 5,200 bottles.
Lee said the thieves also stole security equipment and he figures there were on the property quite a while.
"The total weight of the loss is well over 10 tons," he noted.
Lee said the winery is looking at additional security measures.
He's hoping that people can keep an eye out for anyone offering the product.
"We have very unique bottles," Lee said, "so it's not like you can relabel it."
And it loses its value if it doesn't have proper labels and if put into other bottles, he said.
The theft was big news on the winery's Twitter feed and among its customers.
"@blackwoodlane offering $25K reward and immunity for information to help capture the ring leader and recovery of #stolen wine."
On the day of the theft, one person Tweeted "Neil @Neilisntwitty, @Blackwoodlane good luck finding the lowlife that stole your wine. Guess its true that people will do anything 2 get their hands on Allince".
Police are seeking any information about the crime. Call Langley RCMP at 604-532-3200 with tips or information. To remain anonymous, contact Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or www.solvecrime.ca. People can also text BCTIP and the details to CRIMES (274637) or use the Facebook page www.facebook.com/metrovancouvercrimestoppers).
@ Copyright 2013