12th December, 2012 by Lucy Shaw
Police are close to an arrest over the attack on leading Brunello estate Case Basse on 2 December in which 62,600 litres of six vintages Brunello were lost after the taps to the barrels were opened.
Case Basse owner Gianfranco Soldera
According to Wine-Searcher.com, Italian newspaper La Repubblica has reported that the suspect is a former Case Basse employee, who investigators had located in Montalcino.
While earlier reports suggested the attack may have been carried out by a criminal organisation, this theory has now been ruled out.
La Repubblica reports that the crime appears to be an act of retaliation by the former worker.
An official arrest is expected in the next few days.
The attacker entered the cellar by breaking a window and proceeded to open the valves of 10 barrels, allowing wine from the last six vintages: 2007 – 2008 – 2009 – 2010 – 2011 and 2012 to flow down the drain.
The act of vandalism resulted in the loss of 62,600 liters of wine with a commercial worth in the region of €10m.
Bottles of Case Basse di Soldera Brunello
The vintages of Case Basse Brunello that have been destroyed will now become a rarity, with only a few small barrels of each vintage remaining.
Wine-Searcher.com reports that winery owner Gianfranco Soldera has suspended sales of Case Basse in an attempt to ward off speculators.
Though prices for the remaining bottles of the 2006 vintage, the current vintage on the market, have already shot up to as much as £800 a bottle in the US, and many suppliers have sold their entire allocation.
A statement released by the Soldera family said that the suspension of sales was necessary “To prevent speculators from depriving wine lovers of the opportunity to enjoy the wines.”
Located in the south-west of Montalcino, the 23-hectare Case Basse estate was bought and restored by Soldera, a former insurance broker from Treviso, in 1972. It produces around 10,000 bottles each year.