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Two indicted in French Laundry wine theft

The French Laundry

Two men have been indicted for their possible connection with the $300,000 wine theft from The French Laundry restaurant in Yountville dating to 2014.

Alfred Georgis, 53, of Mountain View and Davis Kiryakoz, 44, of Modesto were arrested on Wednesday. Each was charged with one count of conspiracy to transport stolen goods and two counts of transportation of stolen goods in federal court in Fresno and San Jose on Thursday.

The stolen goods are alleged to include a number of bottles of high-end wines stolen from The French Laundry in Yountville and Alexander’s Steakhouse in Cupertino.

Georgis and Kiryakoz are accused of transporting stolen wines across state lines.

Thefts began as early as March 2013 when 142 bottles were stolen from a San Francisco wine merchant, according to the indictment. The indictment also describes the alleged theft and transportation of additional wines including the November 2014 burglary of 39 bottles of wine from Alexander’s Steakhouse and the December 2014 burglary of more than 70 bottles of valuable wines from The French Laundry.

Most of the wine bottles stolen from The French Laundry were recovered in Greensboro, North Carolina by Napa County law enforcement and returned to the restaurant in January 2015.

The wine, with an estimated retail value of about $300,000, was reported missing Dec. 26 after an employee discovered someone had broken into the famed Yountville Michelin-starred restaurant. Investigators reported that the building was broken into sometime after 2 p.m. Christmas Day while the restaurant was closed for renovations.

The stolen wine was considered among the best in the world, including dozens of bottles of Domaine de la Romanee-Conti and five bottles of Screaming Eagle cabernet from the 1990s and 2010.

Kiryakoz was released, but Georgis was detained pending a bail hearing scheduled for May 4 before United States Magistrate Judge Nathanael Cousins.

Pop the cork on Napa Valley wine!

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Maria Sestito is the former Napa Valley Register public safety reporter. She now writes for the Register as a freelancer.

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