Famed restaurant says stolen wine value estimated at 300k

The total value of dozens of high-end bottles of wine stolen from a famous Napa County restaurant over Christmas was six times what the sheriff's office initially estimated, according to the restaurant.

The burglary at French Laundry restaurant at 6640 Washington St. in Yountville was discovered Friday morning when staff returned to work and noticed someone had forced their way into the wine cellar sometime after 2 p.m. on Christmas Day.

The Napa County Sheriff's Office initially reported that 40-50 bottles of wine, some worth thousands of dollars, had been stolen. They estimated the total value to be more than $50,000.

But after the sheriff's office completed its investigation and the restaurant was no longer a crime scene, restaurant staff was able to conduct a full inventory. The restaurant reported that 76 bottles were stolen with a total worth of about $300,000.

Sheriff's investigators said it appears the thieves deliberately targeted high-value wines with potential resale value to restaurants and private individuals.

The restaurant owner, famed chef Thomas Keller, said wine from specific makers and vintages were stolen, including from French estate Domaine de la Romanée-Conti and Napa winery Screaming Eagle.

“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,” Keller said in a statement.

“We look forward to rebuilding our cellar in the meantime and plan to get to the bottom of this disheartening act immediately,” he said.

The restaurant and sheriff's office have released a full list of the stolen wines available on Facebook.

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