$300K in Rare Wines Stolen From Famed Napa Restaurant Found - NBC4 Washington
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$300K in Rare Wines Stolen From Famed Napa Restaurant Found

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    High-End Wine Attracting Criminals

    Expensive wine swiped from the famed French Laundry restaurant has been found, but the story of this wine heist is far from over. And many say high-end wine attracts criminals. NBC Bay Area’s Jean Elle reports from the Peninsula with the dark side to the wine industry. (Published Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015)

    More than $300,000 in rare wines stolen from the famed The French Laundry restaurant in Napa Valley has been found in a private cellar in North Carolina.

    The wine was stolen on Christmas Day from the restaurant in Yountville, California.

    Napa County Sheriff's Capt. Doug Pike told the Santa Rosa Press Democrat that it's still unclear how the bottles of mainly rare French wine ended up in Greensboro.

    No arrests have been made.

    Pike says the stolen wine included bottles of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, where the winery owners use laser and digital technology on corks and capsules to curb counterfeiting and theft. A single bottle can cost up to $10,000. Screaming Eagle wines were also stolen.

    Pike said 72 bottles of wine were recovered Wednesday from a wine buyer who was not aware the wine had been stolen. Restaurant staff said in December that 76 bottles of wine were stolen.

    Investigators are looking into the possibility that people connected to the restaurant stole the wine.

    While Chef and owner Thomas Keller did not specify the total number or value of stolen bottles, the Napa Sheriff's officials said an initial investigation pegged the lost inventory at 40 to 50 bottles.

    Pike had previously told NBC Bay Area the wine went missing sometime after 2 p.m. on Christmas during a "brief window where there was nobody there" at the site, which he said he was told is typically staffed 24-7. The three Michelin-starred restaurant had closed for planned renovation. 

    Pike said authorities believe the theft was targeted, given the brands and vintages that were stolen. A photo posted to Instagram showed a splintered door.

    The French Laundry posted on Instagram last month that it was "confident that if and when any of the stolen bottles appear in public, they will immediately raise questions and red flags among the wine knowledgeable."

    "The French Laundry wine program is, as many of you know, singular and distinct," it said. "We look forward to rebuilding our cellar in the meantime and plan to get to the bottom of this disheartening act immediately."

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    Bay City News and Torey Van Oot contributed to this report.