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Ransoming the World's Most Famous Vineyard

They say the best way to make a small fortune in the wine business is to start with a large one. Actually there are several ways to make a small fortune in the wine business, but today we must add one more: blackmailing Domaine de la Romanée-Conti.

As reported in the UK's Telegraph newspaper, apparently the owner of Romanée-Conti, Aubert de Villaine received at least two threatening letters that promised to poison his vineyards unless he forked over the equivalent of roughly 1.2 million dollars.

Apparently the letters, which revealed a detailed knowledge of the vineyards, suggested that two vines had already been poisoned. One of them was ripped out and provided to the police for analysis by the domaine, which of course means roughly one less bottle of Romanée-Conti will be available to the general public from now on. Given the steep prices and even steeper demand for the wine, it's no surprise that global stock markets went into free fall over the last 24 hours.

Thankfully like most extortionists, this one needed brain cells as much as he needed the money, and was apprehended trying to pick up a suitcase full of counterfeit bills in a nearby graveyard.

The long term impacts on the global wine investment markets remains to be seen, but rumors of a deal with Hollywood for a new series called True Wine Crimes has many in the wine world drooling over what they think might be the next best thing for Pinot Noir since Sideways.

Meanwhile Bill Harlan and Ann Colgin issued press releases indicating that they had retained the services of Blackwater Security as a precautionary measure.

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Required Reading for Wine Lovers

The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud Adventures on the Wine Route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson The World's Greatest Wine Estates by Robert M. Parker, Jr.