FOREST GROVE, OR (KPTV) - A quick stop for wire crimps turned into a much more expensive endeavor for Joshua "Shuhe" Hawkins.

Hawkins, co-owner of Seven Sails Vineyard, said he had 75 cases of wine in the back of his pickup truck when he pulled into the Forest Grove ACE Hardware for some supplies Tuesday afternoon.

"It's still just a silly mistake, costly, costly mistake," Hawkins said.

He told FOX 12 that his truck bed had pallets of wine cases piled up higher than the cab and wrapped in plastic. Hawkins was picking up the finished wine- produced off-site at other wineries- and bringing it home. These bottles were special, Hawkins said, a 2018 Pinot Gris Rouge that took more time and more money to produce.

In the five minutes he spent in the store, Hawkins said 23 of the 75 cases were swiped.

"Someone had to be kind of ready to do that or know what they were doing to move that fast," Hawkins said.

He says he isn't sure if he was being followed or if somebody was just waiting for an opportunity in the parking lot.

The financial blow is serious. Co-owner Katherine Larsen told FOX 12 that they only have three acres of vines and produce around 300 cases in a very good year.

"It's a pretty big dent, it's crushing," Larsen said. "We're tiny, micro-boutique."

At $35 per bottle, Larsen says Tuesday's theft amounted to a little more than $9,600.

"We'll just take a hit and keep on," Larsen said, "the grapes keep growing."

But then a second hit came Thursday, when Hawkins said another winery owner told them they saw some of their crates and bottles smashed along Highway 47 between Yamhill and Carlton.

"It looked like, pretty much, it just had been tossed," Hawkins said, "and there was definitely a big skid mark right next to it like someone pulled up, dumped it, and ran."

Hawkins estimated about 15 crates were tossed there, and he was able to dig through the blackberry bushes and recover 12 unbroken bottles-- one case.

"The fact that they dumped it, I think, is a harder hit in a way," Hawkins said.

These bottles are not sold in stores, so Hawkins and Larsen are asking anyone who may have seen a bottle or a crate with the 2018 Seven Sails Pinot Gris Rouge label to contact Forest Grove Police.

The pair says another way you can help is supporting Seven Sails Vineyard and ordering some wine.

A GoFundMe has been setup to help the winery recover.

Copyright 2021 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved. 


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