11/25/2013 07:19 EST | Updated 01/25/2014 05:59 EST

Hainle Vineyards Estate Winery Robbed Of $30,000 Of Ice Wine

isifa via Getty Images
BZENEC, CZECH REPUBLIC - DECEMBER 08: Wine growers harvest frozen grapes during a freezy winter night on December 8, 2012 at the Bzenia company vineyards in Bzenec, southern Moravia, Czech Republic. Grapes for the production of icewine must be pressed from the frozen ones. (Photo byTomas Hajek/isifa/Getty Images)

PEACHLAND, B.C. - A winery in British Columbia's Okanagan Valley that became North America's first ice wine producer more than three decades ago says thieves broke in during the weekend and walked away with more than $30,000 of ice wine.

Walter Huber of Hainle Vineyards Estate Winery in Peachland, more than 300 kilometres northeast of Vancouver, said the break-in happened Sunday morning, when 17 bottles were stolen from the winery's cellar.

The missing bottles included ice wines from 1983 and 1984, which can fetch $10,000 a bottle.

Huber said the break-in happened two days after the winery's $1-million collection was featured on a local TV news report, and he thinks the media attention might have prompted thieves to target his operation.

"Obviously, they saw the prices that we get, but the didn't think about — you really can't sell these ice wines, because everyone is looking for them now," said Huber.

Huber's family bought the Hainle Vineyards winery, which produces organic wines, in 2002.

Its founder, Walter Hainle, opened the site as an estate winery in 1972. Six years later, in 1978, Hainle released his first batch of commercial ice wine, becoming North America's first ice wine producer.

"The worst part is, it's probably people who don't even understand wine," said Huber.


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