Call me flabbergasted. Deliberately destroy six entire vintages of a fabled wine, and the Italian justice system metes out a measly four-year sentence? Two less than the prosecutor requested, actually.
Sentenced was Andrea Di Gisi, a former employee of Gianfranco Soldera of Case Basse, a top Montalcino estate in southern Tuscany. Fired by Soldera, Di Gisi's motive allegedly was revenge. By entering the cellar of Case Basse at night and opening the valves of casks so that the wine gushed out onto the cellar floor, he effectively stole six years' work from his former boss. Not only that, since Soldera's Brunello di Montalcino spends up to five years aging in cask, it will be at least that many years before Soldera will be able to release another vintage of his top wine.
According to Montalcinonews.com, Di Gisi, who has been dubbed "il killer di Brunello" in the Italian press, is planning to appeal the sentence. Sotto wine director Jeremy Parzen, who must follow a gazillion Italian wine blogs (in Italian) reports the story on his blog Do Bianchi via Franco Ziliani's blog Vino al Vino, who in turn is commenting on what was reported about the matter in Montalcino News.