Local

‘It was shocking’: Ex-employee arrested after draining 24K bottles of wine at Woodinville winery

WOODINVILLE, Wash. — A Seattle man was arrested after King County deputies said a former employee drained more than 20,000 bottles worth of wine at a Woodinville winery.

INVESTIGATION:

King County deputies said Woodinville and Shoreline police arrested a man in his 60s at his home in Seattle Wednesday at 11 a.m. in connection to the vandalism.

Detectives said a suspect got inside Sparkman Cellars, located on 145th Street in Woodinville, by using a keypad of an employee entrance on the side of the building, on Nov. 22, 2023, around 7:34 p.m.

KIRO 7 News obtained surveillance video capturing a suspect, dressed in all black, entering the building, and two massive tanks spilling a pool of white wine onto the floor.

FULL STORY: https://www.kiro7.com/news/local/deputies-arrest-ex-employee-accused-vandalizing-woodinville-winery/L7XWAYMZR5D5TEHDBG2GH2LPB4/?utm_campaign=trueanthem&utm_medium=trueanthem&utm_source=facebook&fbclid=IwAR0xUxOyiYu_8ypjrOL5pJZpobw6ITA7GizDvPaKWxP-wI7iXZUAkw8NiFM ---------------------- #NEW: King County deputies say Woodinville and Shoreline police arrested a man after a suspect drained two tanks filled with 24,000 bottles worth of white wine at Sparkman Cellars -- a total value of $600,000. Officials say he is a former employee. What we know about the suspect and how other small businesses are supporting the winery on KIRO 7 News at 4:30 p.m.

Posted by Louie Tran on Thursday, February 22, 2024

Minutes later, the video shows the suspect exiting the building from the back of the building and casually walking through the bushes and trees.

King County deputies said the suspect drained around 24,000 bottles worth of white wine, a total value of $600,000.

No one was inside the building during the incident.

The former employee was processed at the King County Jail, King County deputies said but has since been released.

KIRO 7 News asked the King County Sheriff’s Office for more details about the suspect. No other details were shared.

A spokesperson for the King County Prosecutor’s Office told KIRO 7 News the office was waiting for the case, as of Thursday afternoon, and plans to review it for possible charges.

The owners of the business declined to talk on camera.

COMMUNITY IMPACT:

KIRO 7 News spoke with several workers nearby, who described how close the community is.

“We are a small tight-knit community, we were all buzzed about it,” said Teresa Jones, general manager of Darby Winery. “We all respect each other, support each other.”

Jones said her business is supporting Sparkman Cellars because she understands the impact this can have on a winery.

“It was such a gut punch because of all the work, hard work, blood sweat, and tears that go into producing that hand-crafted quality and amount of wine that unfortunately they lost,” she said.

And the wine is not easy to churn out, she added.

“You work all year for that time to be able to produce these works of art we sell.” Jones said, “We get one shot a year at this, it’s all based on the fruit that’s harvested.”

“That was a big blow to one of our family members,” she added.

KIRO 7 News stopped by Village Wines nearby and spoke with manager Kelvin Moreira, who has worked at the business for nine years.

The business along with several others sells bottles of Sparkman Cellars wine.

“We were actually very shocked it happened,” he said. “They have been part of the community for years, even before I started here.”

Many small businesses in the area rely on local products to serve their customers, he said, which is why many workers are supporting Sparkman Cellars following the vandalism.

“If that happened to any winery around us, we support everybody, because that helps us drive business, and make sales as well with everybody else, and it helps the community,” he said. “If we were a winery, I would be baffled and completely distraught on how much work that was put into it for it to just be all lost.”

“If we continue supporting each other, we can continue being in business and supporting families who work for us,” he added. “It’s very important.”