Burgundy winemakers have already had to deal with their harvest being hit by bad weather including hail storms – in some fields winemakers are expecting to harvest just 20 percent of a normal year.
And their depleted vines are now being targeted by grape thieves, seemingly intent on stealing the stock to make their own plonk.
In one theft enough grapes were stolen from a vineyard to make 100 bottles of wine, France Info radio reported.
Just as harvest season is in full swing, vineyard owners in the famous region in central France have had to organise night patrols around the fields to ward off thieves.
It’s the first time they have to patrol the vineyards at night to look out for vehicles that have been seen driving around through the fields in the dark.
Eric Boussey, a winemaker in the Côte d’Or region was the victim of one theft.
“We found out in the morning, there were leaves on the ground, and there were grapes on the ground, but very few left on the vines,” he said.
“It makes you depressed and angry. They must have stolen the equivalent of a few cases of wine.
Another winemaker Luc Hibon told France Info: “We can’t just let this happen. It’s the result of a year’s work.”
Due to the low harvest the grapes that have survived the frosts and the storms in spring are said to be of high quality and for that reason, more attractive to thieves.
Police have also been on horseback patrol in the Champagne region during this year's harvest in order to prevent thieves targeting the precious grapes. (see photo below)