Technically advanced thieves struck top Amarone producer Masi last weekend, stealing 12,000 bottles of the cult classic Vaio Amaron 1999.

As well as the Vaio Amaron, from the Serego Alighieri estate, bottles of the

Masi Costasera Amarone 2000 were also stolen.

The burglars carefully chose these two names from among the 2.5m bottles of various wines being held in Masi’s high-security depository. The stolen goods have an approximate retail value of €250,000. The number of cases stolen was precisely the amount to fill a shipping container.

Vaio Amaron is one of Italy’s most prestigious and expensive wines, a single-vineyard Amarone from vineyards owned by the Alighieri family since the 14th century. It has won numerous awards; Amaron is reputed to be the original inspiration for Amarone.

Masi president Sandro Boscaini told decanter.com, ‘According to the police a large truck was stolen the night before from a nearby town and this was probably used to transport the wine. The police believe the wine is headed to Russia or Eastern Europe where several criminal rings specialising in stealing luxury goods from Italy in this same manner have been broken up.’

While the wine was being stolen, the Masi estate was honouring Emilia Romagna producer San Patrignano with the Premio Masi, its annual award which celebrates wine culture. While guests sipped glasses of Costasera Amarone, the break-in was in progress.

Written by Kerin O’Keefe