Recently, 35,000 grape seedlings prepared for planting at Cantina Rivera, a well-known winery in the Puglia region of Italy, were stolen. The stolen branches were the local indigenous varieties Bombino Nero and Nero di Troia, new clones developed by Cantina Rivera in collaboration with the University of Milan and Crea di Turi successively.
Image courtesy of: ItalianWine.com
This research began in the 1990s and the third generation of vines is being prepared for the production of the DOCG wines of Cantina Rivera, namely Castel del Monte Bombino Nero DOCG, Castel del Monte Nero di Troia Riserva DOCG and Castel del Monte Rosso Riserva DOCG.
The newly cultivated vines were to be planted in 10 hectares of vineyards. However, during the very two days of planting, 35,000 Bombino Nero and Nero di Troia branches were stolen, putting the entire research project at great risk.
Carlo de Corato, owner of Cantina Rivera, said: "The theft of the branches was a heavy blow to us, whoever stole them, they will only be sold on the black market, but for us and the whole vineyard, these branches represent our future. Fortunately, there are still some branches in the nursery and we can start over with the rest, we won't stop researching and this won't be the last vineyard I plant.