Most of the $300,000 of Domaine de la Romanee-Conti and Screaming Eagle wines stolen from The French Laundry restaurant in California on Christmas Day have been found in a warehouse thousands of miles away.
Detectives from Napa County Sheriff’s Office recovered the majority of the 76 stolen wines in a warehouse in Greensboro, North Carolina, around 2,794 miles (4,496km) from The French Laundry’s cellars (see the map below).
Most of the stolen wine was Domaine de la Romanee-Conti, including Romanee-Conti, La Tache and Grands Echezeaux from vintages spanning the past decade. Several bottles of Napa’s Screaming Eagle were also taken in the Christmas Day heist at the Michelin-starred restaurant.
Police did not specify how many bottles, or which wines, they recovered.
‘No arrests have been made to date, but the investigation is ongoing,’ said Napa County Sheriff’s Office. It said detectives flew to North Carolina after ‘analysis of forensic evidence and interviews’.
DRC’s distributor in the US, Wilson Daniels, alerted retailer and auction houses to the wines’ serial numbers, but some believe the burglars had a buyer in place.
‘It isn’t hard to believe that a thief who was knowledgeable enough to target these wines will also know private individuals who are willing to buy the stolen property at a steep discount,’ said Frank Martell, director of fine and rare wine at Heritage Auctions. ‘As wine prices are rising, we are seeing more and more of this kind of theft.’
See how far the wines travelled:
- French Laundry DRC thieves probably ‘had buyer in place’
- Are higher fine wine prices motivating thieves?
Written by Chris Mercer