French Laundry’s Stolen Wines Recovered

Photo by Erik McLean / Unsplash


The Napa County Sheriff’s Office reported late last week that a “majority” of the wine stolen from Napa’s Michelin-starred restaurant French Laundry was recovered in North Carolina. No arrests have been made, and the investigation is ongoing, officials say. The wines are back in Napa, but will not be returned to French Laundry yet, as they are still considered evidence. On Christmas Day, the restaurant was the victim of a heist, with the thieves stealing 76 bottles of wine worth $300,000 from its cellars.

American fashion designer Zac Posen is stepping into the wine game, sort of. Trento-based Italian wine company has tapped the New York-born designer to create a bespoke wine label for its latest vintage of Pinot Grigio. The wine—made from grapes grown in Alto Adige, the Veneto and Friuli—will be available this summer nationwide and sold for $11.

In the Trade

On January 21, 2015, California Governor Jerry Brown presented the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA) with the 2015 Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award (GEELA), the state’s highest environmental honor. CSWA was recognized for its California Sustainable Winegrowing Program during a ceremony at the California Environmental Protection Agency Headquarters in Sacramento

Vias Imports, Ltd., has begun importing and distributing the wines of Pacherhof Winery, a producer of aromatic white wines from the northern Italian region of Valle Isarco, in Alto Adige. The winery is a part of the Pacherhof Hotel, owned by the Huber family, and has been an agriturismo staple in the area. Boasting a 30,000-annual-bottle-capacity, Pacherhof Winery is the fourth winery to represent Alto Adige in the Vias portfolio. Its wines are available nationwide.

Nine North Wine Company recently appointed Molly Lyman as head winemaker for the Oakvilla, California-based brand. Lyman’s experience includes stints at Moone-Tsai, Duckhorn, Relic Wine Cellars and Talisman Wines. In addition to working on Nine North’s brands (Twenty Bench, Rock & Vine, Chasing Lions, Hullabaloo, Parcel 41 and Seven Sinners wines), Lyman will also direct the winemaking programs at The Ministry of the Vinterior and The Dirty Pure Project, co-owners Christopher Nickolopoulos and Elijah Pfister’s additional ventures.

On the Social Scene

Wondering what the stars are sipping? With awards and festival season in full swing, it’s no surprise that top brands and producers are getting in front of celebrities in a big way. At the trendy Sundance Film Festival, Australia’s Penfolds is the official wine provider, being poured and sipped at all of the star-studded indie screenings and events. On the awards front, Champagne house Piper-Heidsieck recently entered a three-year deal with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to be the exclusive Champagne imbibed at the Oscars. At the recently aired Golden Globes, Moët & Chandon—the award ceremony’s official Champagne for  24 years—poured its 2004 Grand Vintage Brut Rose for the likes of George Clooney, Meryl Streep and Emma Stone. Meanwhile, Champagne Taittinger celebrated its 15th anniversary sponsoring the Screen Actors Guild Awards with Vitalie Taittinger. As Champagne Taittinger’s Artistic Director and Global Spokesperson, Vitalie opened the red carpet with a “Champagne Taittinger Toast” with two-time actor and nominee Reid Scott (“VEEP”).

Wine Enthusiast’s Contributing Travel Editor Alexis Korman is making waves in the New Orleans cocktail scene, according to Eater. Korman and her partner, mixologist Austin Sherman, have scaled up their production of their small-batch, artisinal kombucha, Big Easy Bucha, and can found in the Crescent City’s top bars and restaurants. Read the full report, and follow Korman and Big Easy Bucha on Twitter and Instagram >>>

Executive editor Susan Kostrzewa made a special appearance on Fox Good Day NY to talk about the health benefits of wine, which you can also read about here. Catch her exclusive interview next month and follow her on Twitter for more upcoming appearances..

Our editors get around. From an envy inducing Champagne tasting to the golden skies of California, here are some of their comings and goings around the Web >>>

Deputy Editor Mike Dawson escaped chilly New York for decidedly nicer climes: 


Cali.   A photo posted by Mike Dawson (@mad_up) on


Managing Editor Joe Czerwinski is off to New Zealand! Follow along on his wine travels via Twitter or @wineenthusiast.


Published on January 26, 2015
Topics: Wine Trends and News