$300,000 in stolen French Laundry wine recovered

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ByWayne Freedman KGO logo
Saturday, January 24, 2015
Rare wines stolen from French Laundry
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Rare wines were stolen from the famed French Laundry restaurant in Yountville and found in North Carolina.

YOUNTVILLE, Calif. (KGO) -- More than $300,000 in wine stolen from famed Napa Valley restaurant, The French Laundry, has been recovered some 2,700 miles away in North Carolina.

ABC7 News spoke with chef Thomas Keller on Friday. He deferred us to the Napa County Sheriff's office, who said this is an active investigation that looks like a possible inside job.

Perhaps by a current or former employee who broke in on Christmas -- a night when no one was around and when the burglar alarm was off.

Investigators found 72 of the 76 stolen wine bottles in Greensboro, North Carolina, in the cellar of a collector who apparently had no idea it was stolen.

The small town of Yountville has become a big destination because of Thomas Keller's food. Of all his restaurants, The French Laundry is most famous. Reservations take two months, if you can get them.

It was here that a thief, or thieves broke in on Christmas, making off with an estimated $300,000 of wine, including five bottles of the Screaming Eagle.

"If you buy it at the winery, it cost $750. If you buy from a retailer, it might cost you double. Sometimes ten times the price," said Garret Murphy with the Napa Valley Vintner's Collective.

Precious stuff, apparently.

According to the Napa County Sheriff's office, the wine is now back in Napa County. One reason the sheriff's department suspects an inside job is that last year there was a similar robbery at Red's restaurant. Another break-in with the alarm off and no one there that night. Again, the thief or thieves took the good stuff.

The Napa County Sheriff's office will be working with both state and federal law enforcement authorities to follow up on leads developed in the case.