Extortionist targets world's most expensive wine
French police have arrested a man who tried to extort one million euros from the Romanee-Conti estate, producers of the world's most expensive wine, a manager has told AFP.
The wine producers received several letters from the man earlier this year in which he threatened to spread poison on the vineyards unless he received the pay-off, said Aubert de Villaine, co-manager of the estate.
"The letters included a map of the Romanee-Conti vineyards and he threatened to poison some of the stock," he told AFP on Wednesday.
Working with police, the wine estate agreed to set up a drop-off of the funds at a cemetery in Burgundy, and the man was arrested as he left the village on February 22, said Villaine.
To show his determination, the extortionist told police he had poured a chemical on two vines, one of which was pulled out and handed over to investigators.
The second vine is "growing normally. It appears that is was a hoax," said the manager. The suspect is expected to appear in court within a year.
Romanee-Conti is the pride of France's Burgundy region, with bottles selling at prices varying from a few hundred euros to 18,000 euros (23,000 dollars).
© 2010 AFP