Acclaimed Spanish Winery Loses Over 15,000 Gallons to Intruder

The value of the lost wine was $2.7 million

Cepa 21 event
Spanish actor Imanol Arias launchs the new wine 'Hito 2008' on March 9, 2010 in Valladolid, Spain.
Europa Press/Europa Press via Getty Images

Located in the Spanish town of Valladolid, the winery Cepa 21 has gotten high marks over the years for the different bottles it’s produced. Unfortunately for the winery, their stores of wine have gotten a little smaller in the wake of a break-in that may have been an act of vandalism or sabotage.

As Olivia White reports for VinePair, someone broke in to the winery and emptied several tanks of their contents, three of which were drained of the wine within. All told, 60,000 liters (or just under 16,000 gallons) of wine — in this case, the winery’s Horcajos and Malabrigos — were lost. A BBC report on the incident estimates the value of the lost wine at around $2.7 million.

Security footage from the break-in shows an intruder opening the tanks and letting them drain. A representative of the winery noted that this isn’t easy to do. The winery’s spokesperson speculated to the BBC that the intruder “is used to opening these tanks and is familiar with this kind of machinery.” They went on to suggest that the intruder was “a person who knows the grounds well.”

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It’s a relatively unique incident in the industry. Normally, someone who’s taken the risk of breaking into a secure facility is looking to profit from the act — as when someone broke into a distillery last year and made off with $70,000 worth of spirits. To destroy millions of dollars’ worth of wine is a very different action — and it suggests there’s a fuller story to be told.


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