Man admits stealing $500,000 worth of wine from famed French Laundry restaurant

A California man has pleaded guilty to a charge stemming in part from the theft of more than 100 wine bottles worth more than $500,000 from a famed Napa Valley restaurant, officials said Tuesday.

Federal prosecutors said a judge accepted Davis Kiryakoz's guilty plea to one count of conspiracy to transport stolen goods. As part of a plea agreement, prosecutors said Kiryakoz, 44, acknowledged conspiring to steal wine bottles from the world-renowned French Laundry restaurant in December 2014.

The theft occurred a day after Chef Thomas Keller's famed restaurant closed for a six-month kitchen remodel.

The Yountville, Calif., establishment is rated three stars in the Michelin guide and twice has been named the world's best by Restaurant Magazine.

The stolen wine included Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, a single bottle of which can cost up to $10,000. At the time of the theft, an online wine list showed the bottles sell for $3,250 to $7,950 at the restaurant.

Bottles of Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon, one of the most highly sought-after American wines, also were stolen. The restaurant wine list shows one vintage sells for $6,000.

Kiryakoz and a co-conspirator arranged to ship the wine to a buyer in North Carolina, where some of it was later discovered.

Prosecutors say Kiryakoz also conspired to steal wine from a steakhouse and a wine dealer. He is scheduled to be sentenced in March.

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