In a jaw-dropping travesty for wine (and we're not talking counterfeits), WineNews.it reports that on Sunday, vandals broke into wine producer Gianfranco Soldera's cellar, destroying some 62,600 liters (16,500 gallons) of wine from six vintages, 2007 to 2012. Soldera is known for its Brunello di Montalcino, older vintages of which can sell for hundreds of dollars a bottle.
The vandals reportedly opened the taps on his barrels, and according to the wine blog Do Bianchi, "the entire production from 2007 to 2012" was lost.
News outlets and bloggers reported that the crime, in the Montalcino region of Tuscany, was an act of extortion connected to the mafia. Eater reports that authorities claim there is no mafia connection, with the mayor of Montalcino, Silvio Franceshelli, saying in a post, "Any allusion to phenomena that bear the mark of the mafia are entirely imaginary."
Others believe that the act was one of revenge. Writers speculate that the crime was revenge for a alleged letter that Soldera supposedly wrote to tip off an investigation into adulterated wines in Montalcino (described as the Brunellogate affair).
Luckily, Soldera's son Mauro says the wine was insured, and even covered for vandalism. Still, five years worth of work from the master winemaker lost? As wine writer Antonio Galloni tweeted, it's "an act against humanity." While Soldera's team members are still unsure about what happened Sunday, or who the vandals are, they're reportedly focusing on building up their stock again, after losing an equivalent of 84,000 bottles.
"Our thoughts and actions, at the moment, are directed solely to the future," a statement said, "because no intimidation can stop our work and passion for this land and the products it yields."