Grapes of wrath

Vineyards in Sark  sabotaged.

Support wires – some up to 200 yards long – have been cut and repairs will take up to six months. The cost is estimated at tens of thousands of pounds.

Kevin Delaney of Sark Estate Management says staff who have been working on the project are distraught.

In all 40,000 vines have been affected out of the 100,000 planted. The support wires were severed at both ends and in the middle. Mr Delaney said it was a “night of devastation”.

The act of sabotage came ahead of a protest about the scale of vineyard plantations in the island. The Agriculture Committee have called for a halt on the conversion of grazing land. They fear it will lead to the collapse of farming and damage biodiversity.

More than 80 islanders staged a protest near a field currently being ploughed for vineyard development.

In a public statement the committee say

“The scale of this new monoculture will have a devastating effect on Sark’s unique and diverse wildlife. Many species which rely on Sark’s healthy fields – from earthworms, insects, butterflies, moths, bats, birds, up to Peregrine Falcons which nest around our cliffs, will suffer as the traditional environment is impoverished.

“We call on the Sark Estate Management to halt present work and reconsider the agricultural plans and priorities for their land in Sark.”

The agriculture committee say they have worries about the use of Bordeaux Mixture, which contains copper sulphate, becoming airborne and spreading outside the vineyards.