Bert George owns Joseph George Wines in San Jose which has been in operation since 1940. According to the owner, the thief passed up the good stuff and went straight for the “Mona Lisa” of his collection — several magnums of Harlan Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, a vintage from each year — from 1992 to 1997.
George said his bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon are so rare, he displayed them as if his shop was a museum.
“It’s so rare. You just don’t see it. So it hurts, it hurts and hopefully we get them back,” George said.
According to George, a vertical of about 10 bottles sold at the Napa Valley Wine Action more than a dozen years ago for about a quarter-million dollars! He notes the auction was for charity so the final selling price was inflated but his vertical of Harlan magnums are valued in his opinion around $35,000 to $40,000.
George says whoever did this knew what they were going after.
“Somebody knew exactly what they were doing, why they wanted it, and what to steal,” George explained. “They walked past a lot of good wine. To get to this to break another window inside they had to break into the case, and then steal these and they walked straight to it and straight out with the wine.”
We asked what George would say to the thief, here was his response:
“There’s really no message here because this is a professional wine thief and it’s a professional thief number one because they’re not going to enjoy it. They’re just going to I think they did it for somebody else. For some reason, I have this feeling but this is just wrong. The wine gods don’t look good upon this one.”
San Jose police did respond and take a burglary report. They’re investigating the wine heist.
Harlan Estate in Oakville called George today asking what they could do to help.