Vandal ruins millions of dollars worth of wine

A moment of silence, please. Some complete bastard in Italy has destroyed 84,000 bottles of Brunello, worth at least $25m. [Eric Asimov/NYT]


  1. While I feel for the guy’s loss, he sounds really pretentious. Also as a non drinker I find the concept of paying $250 for a bottle of gone off grape juice appalling when there are people starving in yada yada yada…

      1. I don’t think that’s really so comparable.

        He’s talking about being psyched about getting a “free” (due to a not-so-old model breaking) upgrade on a product that costs $70. A $250 bottle of wine is in a different dimension. It lasts like, what? 2-3 hours? It costs over 3 times as much. It’s a far far greater level of decadence.

        By that logic, should access to the Internet and clean drinking water forfeit our grounds to criticize any amount of excess?

        1. So you’re able to put a dollar-value on when we can make criticisms? Or is it a time limit on how long something lasts that defines that barrier? Or is it the nature of the luxury item that makes that difference?

          I don’t really think he was making trenchant social commentary about luxury items. He just thinks wine is a waste of money, and went the additional ridiculous step of tying it to injustice.

          1. Ha, I guess we interpret differently.

            I can’t fathom his comment not being about the $250/bottle price. Seriously doubt he would made the same comment about $3 or $25 wine.

        2. Is all human refinement to be tied to a fall, to “decadence?” For most people, clean drinking water is a matter of technology. What layabouts!

        3. Sigh. Hope you’ll never get the hang of really good wine, whisky, and food in general.

          At least, there’s a sensation in it. Be materialistic, if you want. Be rich, if you want. But you can’t make the taste of something last for longer than a very short while. Then, it’s gone. As long as there is a limited amount of supply, and there is a demand: there you go. Decacence, you say? Decadence is mining the Congo basin for Coltan and selling subsidized and crippled electronics so people buy more stuff of your DRM’d content.

          So, if you would give me a choice between a glass of really good Brunello an a Kindle, I would go for the PRST2, and the Brunello. ;)

          1. The decadence is in the declaration that the entry point to quality food costs $250/bottle.

            Perhaps you can pity me for not indulging in the taste of the $250 bottle. May I pity you for not experiencing the $1000 bottle, the $10,000 bottle, or the $100,000 bottle? Perhaps neither of us have lived. 

            Or perhaps good wine doesn’t actually cost that much to produce, experts get fooled by cheap wine in blind tests, and there are better ways to use the $220 you have left over after buying a perfectly good bottle of wine.

    1. Anybody who would describe wine as “gone off grape juice” should probably stfu about wine. Obviously you don’t like wine in general, so your opinion about the likeability of any specific wine is irrelevant.

    2. Nice of you to take time out from healing the sick and feeding the poor to blame the victim who’s lost half a decade’s worth of income.

    1. It does make me wonder if something was going awry in these batches. Is it even possible to get the level of insurance the article states without any security system?

    2. Yes, it sounds a little fishy.  Someone breaking into a place like this for kicks wouldn’t just open up the taps leave it at that and take off.  I wonder if there was some competitor or personal grudge or even just some insurance scam going on here.

  2. This may have some connection …”Mr. Soldera is among the staunchest defenders of traditional Brunello, and he rarely restrains himself from questioning the practices of his neighbors. He has not been diplomatic in criticizing their wines, or modest in assessing his own, which he regards as one of the few great wines in the world. While wine-lovers around the world admire the gorgeous purity and grace of his wines, he is not beloved among his peers.”

  3. Yeah, add me to the list of people who can’t be saddened by a status symbol being blown to pieces in this day and age. They probably couldn’t tell that stuff from Yellowtail in a double-blind. This wasn’t a beverage, it was jewelry and land deeds in liquid form, and I just can’t cry too much for it nor for the people who live in that world.

    1. Spoken like a true comrade! I’m afraid you’re very wrong about the Yellowtail though, a good wine is on a different level. And I say that as a prole who’s rarely had the fortune to try some.

    2. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaah!  Someone likes something that doesn’t interest me.  Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!

      I’ll be sure to laugh uproariously when video games are banned.  Since I don’t play them, they have no business existing.

  4. This may be wrong or unfair, but this seriously sounds like a ploy to artificially raise the price of the existing stock. You are telling me something that valuable had no security system or cameras protecting it? As someone else pointed out- perhaps these batches just weren’t up to snuff…

    1. Security cameras are not as widespread in Italy as elsewhere, for various complex reasons (one of them being that it was illegal, until recently, to film workers on the workplace). But yeah, of course the whole things smells of something different than chocolate and plums with a hint of gooseberry.

  5. I don’t want to blame the victim or anything but it says in the article he thinks even being aged near cement ruins the wine.  Doesn’t sound like it’s all that hard to “vandalize.”

  6. Wow, you guys. Not one of you seems to have any sense of the amount of work involved in making wine or the artistry involved in making high end wines. People pour their hearts and souls into this stuff. This is no different than someone walking into an artist’s studio and destroying all the paintings made in the last year. 

    I can’t judge as to whether this was “real vandalism” or something else, but if it can be taken at face value, I can certainly empathize with the loss of this man’s work.  

  7. Most of the people who enjoy wine are just regular people, who happen to be wine geeks, and have wine priorities.

    $250 is steep, but whatever…. its a craft product and the market sets the price.

    But it sounds to me like the dude was a prick and pissed off a competitor or an employee…

  8. I idly (yet seriously) wonder, why the term “to vandalize” is acceptable, while “to welsh” isn’t.

    1.   It isn’t? I’ve always been led to believe that the connotations with Wales to be mistaken; more likely that welching on a debt it comes from 19th century trackside racing slang, with origins in thieves cant than a slur on Wales the place and its denizens.

  9.  Therefore extra lulz if this man was the perpetrator of the act. It would be like Picasso telling everyone that he had a bunch of masterpieces almost finished, but some vandal came in and ruined them. That would be pretty funny!

  10. I’m wondering how the intruders gained access to the cellar?  The cellar contains millions of dollar’s worth of high-end wine, he’s portrayed in the article as a perfectionist in regard to winemaking and perceived as excessively proud of his wine — what security measures did he have in place to protect his product from thieves and vandals?  I don’t suspect the owner, but rather a competitor, a former employee, or both.

    An enormous amount of work goes into making wine.  One fall day years ago, we drove down to the Columbia River and made a left up the gorge, till we arrived at a little winery sitting up in the hills with a view of the river.  Dozens of us picked grapes on those ten acres all day, grape juice running up our arms and dripping off our elbows, and we’d hardly made a dent in the crop.  By evening we were hungry, sticky and exhausted.  The vintners fed us well, let us drink our fill and bid us adieu.  The rest of the crop was brought in by hired pickers.  My respect for the long development of wine, and the patience of vintners everywhere went up a bit more that day.  What happened to the Brunello was a crying shame.

  11. It’s weird how many oenophobes feel free to disrespect and suspect and second-guess this victimized wine dude.

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