On October 17 2019, police were observing a cannabis farm in the village of Saint Hippolyte (population: 966) in Haut Rhin in Alsace in northeast France when a man approached the plantation. The dispatch of 15 officers along with a helicopter and dogs led to the arrest of the man and two others. Upon searching the man’s home in the nearby town of Sélestat, police recovered 2.9 oz of weed, 0.07 oz of hash, five LED lamps, three growing chambers and 37 plant pots.
What came as more of a surprise was 47 bottles of wine from the highly esteemed producer Rolly Gassman. It’s thought that the theft of these occurred in the summer while the estate’s buildings underwent construction work to build a new cellar. Initially, the man told police he had purchased the wine, but the falsehood of this became apparent when the destination of some of the bottles turned out to be Buckingham Palace: this wine was destined for the Queen. There were also boxes of Riedel glasses specially branded for the winery.
Pierre Gassman, head honcho of Rolly Gassman, told the France Bleu newspaper that the thieves were unlucky: their haul was of “special bottles which are not for general sale.” Specifically, the stolen wine was from three of Gassman’s single-cru cuvées – Moenchreben, Rotleibel and Kappelweg. These covered a number of vintages. This was, like, very special. The United Kingdom, Gassman added, was his company’s leading export destination for its wine, and the Queen “likes them very much.”
The man later admitted to stealing the wine and possessing cannabis. He’ll appear at Colmar Criminal Court in March 2020, with his accomplices appearing in February.
Gassman matures wine on site, “similar to what the monks historically did in our village”. This can take as much as 40 years. The stolen wine was at least stored “in good conditions” and undamaged.
The Queen’s fave drink is reported to be gin and Dubonnet, although she takes a glass of wine with lunch, a dry martini in the evening and a glass of champagne before bed. The champers tends to be of a brand such as Bollinger or Lanson.