Police have arrested a former employee of Brunello producer Soldera in connection with the destruction of thousands of litres of wine.
The Case Basse barrel cellar; Andrea Di Gisi [Images: montalcinonews.com]
In a crime that shocked the international wine world, the suspect is accused of opening casks of aging Brunello at Gianfranco Soldera’s Case Basse estate on December 2 and destroying more than 60,000 litres of wine.
Rumors that the crime was either a vendetta or even a mafia hit have been quashed by the arrest of 39-year-old Andrea Di Gisi, who is from Rome but reportedly lives in Montalcino and is a former employee of Soldera’s, where he worked in the winery.
As reported earlier today on Montalcino-based website winenews.it, Di Gisi was arrested last night after a coordinated investigation involving Montalcino and Siena carabinieri, as well as the public prosecutor of Siena.
According to reports, the suspect already has a record of crimes involving destruction of property. In this case, he is charged with sabotage.
According to unofficial reports, Di Gisi bears a grudge against Soldera, stemming from the fact ‘Soldera showing preference to another employee by giving him better lodging’ at the winery, online daily siena.free.it said.
Estimates vary but the loss to Soldera is thought to be around €6m..
At a televised press conference in Siena the authorities said they arrested the subject after following his movements on 2 December on various video cameras around Montalcino and later intercepted a cell phone call where he told his nephew, ‘Wine isn’t like blood, with two washes it will go away.’
They also revealed they have seized a pair of wine-stained jeans, which will be tested to see if they can match the stains with Soldera’s wine.
Even without this, they say they have enough evidence for the arrest.
Written by Kerin O’Keefe