A majority of the $300,000 of wine stolen from the restaurant French Laundry has been recovered. The wine was found nearly 2,300 miles away from the French Laundry in Greensboro, North Carolina.
The captain of the Napa County Sheriff’s Department, Doug Pike, confirmed that most of the stolen bottles of wine had been recovered on the other side of the U.S., according to the Los Angeles Times. Pike did not confirm if the wine was found in another restaurant or in a private collection. Suspects include persons close to the French Laundry’s daily operations.
“We suspect it was deliberately targeted due to the quality of the wines. Whoever was responsible seemed to be selective. There was a small window of time when employees weren’t there, so obviously someone took advantage.”
Chef and owner of the French Laundry, Thomas Keller, is not jumping to suspect any particular employees.
“We have 130 employees, we have dozens of delivery people every day, we have hundreds of guests. Someone close to the restaurant? Yes. Somebody who knew where the wine cellar was? Certainly. But that could have been the linen delivery guys, the wine delivery guys and any of the people who service the restaurant, as well as everybody who ever worked at one of our restaurants over the years. That’s a lot of people.”
The recovered wine included Burgundies from the Domaine de la Romanee Conti, Napa’s Cabernet Screaming Eagle, and Dom Perignon Champagne. Some of those bottles could sell for $15,000 each.
Reuters reports that the stolen bottles were in the possession of a buyer who was clueless of the bottles’ origin. The wine was taken to the sheriff’s office. The office was working on keeping the wine cool enough to preserve its high quality. No arrest has been made yet in connection with the crime. Only a handful of the original nearly 80 bottles of wine are still missing.
Pike says that sales of the stolen wine could affect the fine wine community around the world.
“Investigators heard from wine experts that any attempt by whoever stole the wine to sell it would make ripples in the wine world.”
Seventy-six bottles of wine were stolen from the French Laundry on Christmas day, as covered by the Inquisitr. The French Laundry just closed its kitchens for renovations that could last as long as six months. The minimum retail value of the stolen wine was estimated to be around $300,000.
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