Two Italian wineries fall victim to sabotage

Two cooperatives in the Italian region of Puglia were broken into last week and had their tanks opened, releasing over 40,000 hectolitres of wine and fermenting must and causing an estimated €2 million worth of damage.

Image: Facebook Cantine Padre Pio

As reported by Italian news site L’Immediato, Antica Cantina, based in the city of San Severo, and Cantine Padre Pio, located in nearby Torremaggiore, were both the victims of sabotage.

Police are exploring whether the attacks, carried out during the nights of 20 and 21 October, are linked and are exploring many hypotheses, one of which is that the wineries were targeted over an alleged form of unfair competition between winemakers in the province of Foggia.

Authorities believe the vandalism could have been a retaliation to grape pricing policies applied by the two wineries.

Police are now in possession of security footage from Antica Cantina, while the owners of Cantine Padre Pio filed a formal incident report with the local authorities.

Antica Cantina released a statement on social media last week, later thanking the local community for its support.

Mayor of San Severo, Francesco Miglio, told La Gazzetta del Mezzogiorno: “We are facing a really sad event that shakes our conscience and is of unprecedented seriousness, as well as an act of absolute cowardice perpetrated against workers and producers in our area.

“I express, on behalf of myself and of the entire civic administration, total solidarity with the whole Antica Cantina family. This episode is a terrible blow for our economy. I hope that those responsible will be identified as soon as possible and brought to justice.”

Giuseppe De Filippo, president of the Foggia branch of Italian agriculture body Coldiretti, told L’Immediato that it was an “intimidating act without equal”.

“It is unthinkable and unacceptable that after months of effort and effort a farm sees the fruit of its work go up in smoke by criminal gangs that perform acts of unprecedented gravity.”

De Filippo urged authorities to strengthen their controls in rural areas in the hope of preventing future actions.

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