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How a Cava producer alerted police to Europe's most wanted terrorist

Published:  23 August, 2017

Rather than a more usual tale of terroir, Cava producers in Upper Penedes region of Catalonia, have recounted the ordeal surrounding the police chase through vines to capture Europe’s most wanted terrorist.

Younes Abouyaaqoub, the terrorist who killed 13 tourists and locals when he drove a van down the Rambla in Barcelona last Thursday, was shot dead by Catalan police yesterday evening, having been found hiding in vines in between the villages of Subirats and San Sadurni D’Anoia, Catalan police confirmed to Harpers.

Abouyaaquob, who is alleged to have been wearing a fake suicide belt, when he was approached by police, had been on the run since the terrorist attack in Barcelona and Cambrils of last week.

His presence in a key Cava production area, which is home to the vines of leading Cava producer Codorniu, emerged during the busy period for the Penedes region because the grape harvest started earlier this year, due to a hotter than usual summer and low rainfall levels earlier in the year.

A vineyard worker is alleged to have first alerted police over the presence of the terrorist hidden amongst vines near a foot of the mountain.

Cava producer Codorniu declined to comment on whether Catalan police shot dead the terrorist whilst he was hiding in vines owned by Codorniu.

However, speaking to Harpers today, Roser Ventura from Cava producer Caves Ventura located just outside Subirats, confirmed that an employee from her vineyard had alerted police after a car had been spotted on Monday afternoon, driving at high speed through her family’s wine estate.

“It was a shocking scene. An employee called the police having spotted the unusual occurrence of the car speeding through our vineyard,” Ventura said.

“It turned out to be an unmarked car of the secret service police which had sped through our vineyard whilst chasing the terrorist suspect,” she told Harpers.

Ventura recounted how police told vineyard workers to return home after the operation to capture the terrorist had been launched less than 600 metres from her vineyard with helicopters circulating above the vineyard.

A spokeswoman at Cava producer Freixenet today said the delivery of grapes had been delayed on Monday as a result of the police operation to track down the terrorist.

“A tractor was unable to deliver grapes on Monday because police had sealed off the area. The harvest has started earlier than usual because of the heat but we expect to finish the harvest by the end of September; there are fewer grapes but the quality of them is very good,” the Freixenet spokeswoman said.

Roser Ventura meanwhile confirmed to Harpers that grape picking of the Cava grapes, Xarello, Macebeo and Parellada was underway during the police operation.

“We have started ten days earlier than usual. We have hotter than usual temperatures since June including intense periods of heat lasting three of four days at a time, where temperatures have risen above 33 degrees centigrade” she said.

“At least it has not been as hot as in Lleida where grape-picking started as early as July 31st,” she added.