Also entitled “How to Steal Fancy Wine from Restaurants and Warehouses”… the biddies detail some more ridiculous and incredible wine heists from recent years, including one from famous Californian restaurant French Laundry, and one in which the Royal Family’s own wine was stolen and the thieves toasted themselves on the spot. Tune in to learn more.


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Please note some of these notes may be directly copied and pasted from above sources.

Study notes for Wine Heists:

East London Wine Warehouse, England 2011

  • Vintage wine worth 1 Million Pounds (400 cases) was stolen from an East London Wine Warehouse in May 2011
  • Thieves disabled alarms and CCTV before breaking into the warehouse located in Bethnal Green on Sunday
  • The raiders used a forklift truck to fill wooden pallets with the cases and drive off
  • The worry is that the wine could be sold to private collections or auction houses
  • Two men, aged 40 & 50, were arrested on suspicion of burglary although it is assumed 6 people total were part of the heist

French Laundry, Yountville, California, 2014

  • December 25, 2014: a group of wine aficionados arrived at French Laundry which was closed for the holiday
    • This closure in particular was different: French Laundry was to be closed for months for renovation
    • The alarm system was apparently already deactivated and prying open the doors was surprisingly easy
  • French Laundry is a dumb famous, three michelin star restaurant with a month-long waitlist in Napa Valley
  • The crew broke in and walked out with $500,000 worth of wine including some of the world’s most coveted bottles (110 bottles total) which were well chosen
    • Dozens of Domaine de la Romanee-Conti were stolen(12 bottles has sold at auction before for $47,650)
      • 5 bottles of Screaming Eagle as well (costs $800 at the winery)
    • The difficult thing about stealing ultra rare bottles is that it makes it more difficult to re-sell (imagine trying steal and sell the Mona Lisa) but can be a bit tougher to trace sometimes (nebulous origin stories, multiple changes of hands, black market, private collectors, etc)
    • DRC only releases 6,000-8,000 cases a year and only has one gatekeeper who imports it to ultra-exclusive restaurants and locations in the United States
  • Two of the thieves were arrested – Alfred Georgis and Davis Kiryakoz and this wasn’t their first wine heist.
    • Stole wines from Alexander’s Steakhouse in Cupertino, California ($32,000 stolen)
    • Also, San Francisco’s Fine Wines International ($290,000 worth of wine)
    • Were found in January 2015 when the Napa County Sheriff’s office received a call from an attorney in Greensboro, North Carolina
      • His client was a local buyer who had unknowingly purchased the stolen wines from a broker he had worked with before
      • Due to the press surrounding the French Laundry heist and the amount of rare wine at his disposal he suspected theft

Berry Bros & Rudd, England, 2015:

  • Almost $1.5 (pounds) of wine were stolen from the Royal Family’s supplier
  • Thieves broke into a warehouse and crawled under laser beams
    • Started by putting a ladder against the building to turn the CCTV cameras the other way
    • Used power tools to cut a 4×4 foot hole in the wall to crawl under the motion sensors which run along the side of the warehouse
    • Used wine crates as ladders to climb up to the most valuable vintages
    • For three hours, formed a chain and passed wooden cases worth $5000 (pounds) each along the floor to put them through the hole and into the van
  • Wines included Chateau Latour & Chateau Mouton Rothschild
  • The thieves even had time to open magnums of Moet & Chandon inside the warehouse to celebrate
  • Believed to be an inside job because of the precise placement of the hole being just inches under the laser beams plus the knowledge of where the best wines were stored

Spanish Restaurant, October 2021:

  • A couple stole 45 bottles of wine worth about $1.6 million dollars from the two star Michelin Atrio restaurant and hotel in Caceres, Spain
    • Stole 10 vintages of Chateau d’Yquem dating from 1806-1901 and 20 bottles of Romanee-Conti with dates ranging from 1990-2012 (still holds the record as most expensive bottle ever sold; a 1945 for $558,000)
    • The 1806 Chateau d’Yquem bottle alone was priced at the restaurant for $350,000
  • They were booked into the hotel under a fake identity but had been pre-meditating this robbery for some time
    • The couple had visited the hotel at least 3 times before the reservation was made with a fake Swiss passport
    • She arrived with just a backpack and the man was unregistered at the hotel and joined her as a guest at dinner
    • They took a tour of the restaurant’s wine cellar after dinner
    • At 2 AM, the woman called reception to ask for a salad which reception initially resisted since they just had a 14-course meal but finally gave in
    • The man stole a key card from reception and went to the cellar but it didn’t work
    • She called the front desk again asking for dessert and when the receptionist left to bring her some fruit, the man stole the master key
    • The man shoved the 45 bottles into a large rucksack and two large bags
    • They checked out at 5 am with 4 hotel towels placed in the bags to keep the bottles for clinking
  • They were caught 9 months after the theft.
    • Priscila Lara Guevara (a former Mexican beauty pageant contestant) and a Constantin Dumitru (Romanian-Dutch man) were arrested in Croatia coming from Montenegro
    • Identified by cameras and numerous inquiries in both Spain and other countries
    • The wine was never found
    • Constantin had previously been arrested for attempting to steal high-end wine bottles