Fury as police halt search for $5million worth of missing wine

April 9, 2019
By Alana House

Three years after an official investigation was launched into $5million worth of missing wine, police have abandoned Strike Force Farrington.

Dozens of prestige wine collections were reported missing from a specialist wine storage unit in the Hunter Valley after Wine Investment Services Pty Ltd went into receivership in 2013.

Wine Investment Services was one of a number of companies that was part of the failed empire of former James Estate Wines owner David James.

It held wine collections in trust for more than 300 owners, with more than 30,000 collectable and vintage wines including Penfolds Grange, Henschke and Torbreck.

Among the rare assets was a 1951 Penfold’s Grange – a bottle from the same vintage sold for a record $80,386 at an auction last year.

The Newcastle Herald reports that no charges have been laid in relation to the missing wine, with investors left furious.

According to the Herald, Strike Force Farrington recovered a large amount of the stolen wine, but it has not been returned to its owners due to advice from “industry and legal experts”.

“When the wine was located, it was inspected by cellaring experts, who deemed the conditions were sub-standard and the wine would no longer be of value,” she said.

“Despite extensive investigations, Strike Force Farrington did not lay charges over the missing wine.”

Retiree Eric Schick, who lost 1394 bottles of wine worth more than $110,000, said: “It’s extremely disappointing after all this time and money spent trying to get to the bottom of it.

“Someone stole it and they have gotten away with it. A lot of people have lost a lot of money and the police have spent a lot of money to get no outcome.

“It seems we all got ripped off, even the taxpayers who paid for this investigation.”

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