Vandals broke into the cellar of a prominent Tuscany wine producer and poured some $16 million of expensive wine down the drain.
The raiders broke in the Case Basse cellar in the middle of the night on Tuesday morning and turned on the taps, spilling around 16,537 gallons of Brunello di Montalcino wine on the ground, reported the Daily Telegraph. The amount could have bottled 80,000 bottles of wine, each of which could sell for at least $220 dollars and sell for as high as $650. The prized Brunello di Montalcino must be made from 100% Sangiovese grapes.
Gianfranco Soldera, the wine producer, told the Guardian that the attack was “a true mafia-style act,” after vandals smashed through armored glassed.
Police told the newspaper that the vandalism was without precedent.
The attack prompted speculation that Italian crime syndicates may have been responsible but Soldera said that “there have never been worrying episodes here, we have never received threats,” according to the Guardian, citing a local Italian newspaper.
Scandal has rocked the Brunello di Montalcino vintner community in recent years after some vineyards were found to be diluting their Sangiovese grapes with other grape varieties, such as Merlot.
Some rival winemakers may have been antagonized by the Soldera’s criticism of less scrupulous vintners.
“We’ve never been involved in controversy and we’ve never received threats. We’ve suffered a serious blow, not just in economic terms, but we will not give up,” son Mauro Soldera said, according to the Telegraph.
“The estate will survive, we have the strength and the courage not to quit.”
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