$300K worth of high-end wine stolen from California, recovered in Greensboro

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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Much of $300,000 worth of wine stolen from a California restaurant turned up somewhere near Greensboro, according to a press release from the Napa County Sheriff's Office.

76 bottles disappeared after a break-in and burglary Christmas Day at the world-renowned The French Laundry in Yountville, Calif.

Investigators somehow traced a majority of the bottles to a private cellar in the Piedmont, but they would not say where specifically.

Representatives from the FBI, Guilford County Sheriff's Office, Greensboro Police Department and Winston-Salem Police Department all said they were unaware of any recent case involving recovered wine.

Some of the bottles were worth more than $10,000 each.

The labels included Domaine de la Romaine-Conti vintages, Screaming Eagle cabernets and five bottles of Dom Perignon.

"The wines that were taken -- somebody knew what they were doing. The 76 bottles they took were very specific," explained Julia Hunt. She is an advanced sommelier and fine wine specialist with American Premium Beverage in the Piedmont.

She's bent to The French Laundry before and said their loss went beyond any monetary value. "The fact that you're losing that depth in your cellar and that draw to wine enthusiasts would be the biggest disappointment. You know, they've cellared these wines for many years and somebody's counted them and taken care of them and looked at them. There's a real personal connection there."

Hunt and her colleagues knew all about the California theft and were surprised to hear the wine showed up in the Triad.

Napa County Sheriff's Capt. Doug Pike told KNTV that 72 bottles of wine were recovered on Wednesday from a wine buyer who was not aware the wine had been stolen.

"It is a little confusing. I mean there is so much counterfeit wine, especially those brands, that nobody who knows anything about wine would purchase it without knowing where it came from," Hunt pointed out.

Thieves might have tried to auction or re-sell stolen wine. Sadly, she said there's no telling what condition this high-dollar collection is in now.

"Burgundy is some of the most delicate wine on the planet and you've moved it, shifted it, shaken it, it was cold, it was whatever temperature. And then how it got across the United States- who knows? A lot of that can affect the quality of the wine as well."

The Napa County Sheriff's Office said no one has been arrested yet.

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