Rare wines worth an estimated $300,000 stolen from American chef Thomas Keller’s famed Napa Valley restaurant, The French Laundry, on Christmas Day were recovered from a private cellar 4500km away on the other side of the USA last week.
The French Laundry closed just before Christmas while the kitchen is being rebuilt. Keller discovered the break in a few days later. Thieves jemmied open the doors and took 76 bottles, including the cult Napa Valley Cabernet Screaming Eagle, plus 63 bottles of the famous french Burgundy Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, and champagnes.
The top chef posted this photo of the break-in and the widespread publicity surrounding the case is believed to have helped in locating the wines.
On Christmas day, The French Laundry was the victim of a robbery. Specific wines of specific value were stolen (DRC & Screaming Eagle). We have complete trust in the authorities leading the investigation, and we welcome any information our community may have regarding the event. We are 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. We look forward to rebuilding our cellar in the meantime and plan to get to the bottom of this disheartening act immediately. #TheGrinchThatStoleXmas
California detectives went to Greensboro in North Carolina last week and recovered 72 of the 76 bottles. It’s believed the buyer did not know the wines were stolen. No charges have been laid and investigations are continuing. The cellar alarm was not on when the break-in occurred.
Local newspaper The Press Democrat reports that local police say tracking technology also helped them find the wine
One theory is that people connected to the restaurant were involved. A similar break-in occurred at another local restaurant, Redd, 12 months earlier in similar circumstances, when it closed for renovations and the alarm was not on. In that case, two dozen wines, including Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, were taken and have not been recovered. Police are investigating whether the cases are connected.
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