The wine boom has led to a new type of criminal—Burgundy Bandits.
Thieves in San Francisco are targeting high-end restaurants in a search for Domaine de La Romanee-Conti, a pricey Burgundy. Bottles of Romanee-Conti, also known as DRC, have soared in price as wealthy Chinese buy up vintage bottles at auction.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, police are telling top restaurants around San Francisco to be on the lookout after the Burgundy burglars broke into the famed French Laundry restaurant in Yountville, California, and snatched at least $300,000 worth of DRC.
Thomas Keller, the celebrity-chef owner of the Laundry, took to Twitter to ask help from the wine community to help catch the thieves.
The break-in followed a similar hit on Plumed Horse, an upscale restaurant south of San Francisco. Apparently the thieves are knowledgeable oenophiles—they left alone cheaper bottles and went mainly for the DRC.
DRC has become the highest-priced wine at auction in recent years, driven mainly by demand from Asia. A case of 1978 Romanée-Conti Grand Cru sold in 2013 for $476,280, or $39,700 per bottle. The bottles taken from the French Laundry were from the less expensive 2004 and 2010 vintages, which can sell for $10,000 to $15,000 a bottle.
The thieves also took some bottles Screaming Eagle, the California cult cabernet sauvignon wine that has also surged in price.
San Francisco police spokesman Officer Gordon Shyy also advised wine dealers to be on the lookout for DRC bottles that come up for resale.