In less than three weeks, two Barolo vineyards have reported hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of wine as missing — and the same thieves may be behind both heists. The suspects broke into the Cordero di Montezemolo winery June 25, and stole 250 cases of wine worth more than $100,000. Then, the Armando Parusso winery reported a similar burglary July 13, this time involving 120 cases of wine worth $112,000.
Each time, the burglars have worn laboratory-style jackets with covered faces, bodies, and hands — ensuring that security cameras would not be able to uncover their identities. Marco Parusso, owner of Armando Parusso winery, told Wine Spectator: “They took about three hours and they did their work very calmly.” In fact, they did it so calmly that his mother, who lives at the vineyard, slept through the theft.
The Parusso wines should be easier to recover thanks to their rarity. The thieves’ haul included Barolo Riserva 2006 Gold Label, of which only 200 cases exist. Also stolen were bottles of an exclusive 2011 label made specifically for Parusso’s German importer. However, the loot from the Cordero di Montezemolo winery will be significantly more difficult to find due to the commonality of the wines stolen.
The thefts are a sign of the growing stature of Barolo in the wine community. Bordeaux and Burgundy have been the scene of similar wine thefts, and the presence of thieves in the quiet, rural countryside of Barolo affirms its place among the elite wine regions.
Both vineyards have updated their security systems.