Grape thefts: Police armed with infrared cameras have stepped up their patrols of some of France’s most celebrated vineyards, following a surge in night-time thefts of grapes – with fellow vintners cast as the prime suspects. “The harvest is dire this year, so given the shortage of grapes, the temptation to help yourself from the vineyard next door is very strong,” said Philippe Bardet of the Bordeaux Wine Council. “Everyone’s in distress and in some places, there’s a poisonous atmosphere of envy and jealousy.” One Bordeaux winemaker, Denis Barraud of Génissac, has lost six tonnes of grapes worth s35,000. Another, Henri Parent of the Château Montviel in Pomerol, lost enough grapes in a single night to make 450 bottles. The region is struggling with a harvest that has been about 40% lower than last year, as a result of ruinous spring frosts and a summer drought.