Hide your Nebbiolo!

By Gillie Houston
Updated June 12, 2017
Credit: © Horst Neumann / Getty Images

Fans of Barolo, beware. Within the last few weeks, two of the northern Italian region's wineries have been targeted by thieves with a taste for expensive bottles of vino.

The quiet countryside on which the Armando Parusso and Cordero di Montezemolo wineries are situated was shaken by the thefts of over $200,000 in bottles from their cellars. Barolo is one the world's most sought-after wines alongside Bordeaux and Burgundy, which have recently seen similar thefts.

"Our winery is built into the hillside, so it's very hard to see or hear anything below," Armando Parusso owner Marco Parusso tells Wine Spectator of the theft that took place on their grounds the night of July 13. When the winemaker arrived to his cellar the next morning, he was shocked to find the door broken open and some of their "best wines" absent.

And these definitely weren't teens or amateurs seeking a cheap buzz. As Parusso's cameras captured, these were methodical robbers, dressed in "laboratory-style cleanroom suits" that masked their identities. "They took about three hours and they did their work very calmly," Parusso, who runs the winery with his sister Tiziana, adds. The thieves used Parusso's own winery truck—which has yet to be found—to cart off the stolen goods, after stealing the keys from their office.

Less than two weeks later, the Cordero di Montezemolo winery was targeted by robbers, who are suspected to be from the same group involved in the Parusso theft. There, 250 cases of wine valued over $100,000 were stolen by six men who parked vehicles in the Cordero di Montezemolo vineyards at night and forced open a high window, which wasn't connected to the security system, passing the cases carefully down to their accomplises below.

While both vinters know it will be hard to recover their lost cases in full, they hope that area merchants, who are aware of the theft, will be skeptical of anyone selling their variety of wine. As for the area's other wine makers, there's no doubt increased security is at the top of their to-do lists.