Winemaker Accused of Stealing 1,000 Gallons of Wine
This past Wednesday, the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission (LLC) destroyed 1,123 gallons of wine found in Lincoln Country. The wine had an estimated value of $140,000, making it the largest bust in LLC history.
It is believed that the wine belonged to winemaker David Jurena, who brought the wine illegally from the Napa Valley. Although the details of the story are still emerging, officials believe that Jurena stole the wine from Terra Valentine winery, where he was once winemaker.
It was transported to Nebraska in 60 gallon barrels, kegs and bottles in an old freight car owned by Feather River Vineyard. Jurena was also the winemaker at Feather River Vineyard, but was fired in 2006, when he destroyed over 300 gallons of wine in a attempt to hide his winemaking mistakes.
Jurena added too much sulfer dioxide to the wine, rendering it undrinkable. Instead of accepting responsibility for his mistakes, he tried to cover it up. When Feather River Vineyard found out about, they fired Jurena and filled criminal charges against him.
Investigators could not determine where the wine came from, but they believe that Jurena planned to bottle and sell it under the Eggers-Jurena label. These kinds of actions are rare in the wine industry, but are becoming more and more common among less than above board winemakers.
Once officials found the wine, they decided that it should be destroyed, as there is no record of safety procedures used to make the wine. More than 800 gallons of the wine were taken to the North Platte wastewater treatment plant and destroyed. The unlabeled bottles were smashed and taken to the landfill.
Jurena is set to go on trial Sept. 11 in Lincoln County District Court.