As the author of "Tangled Vines: Greed, Murder, Obsession and an Arsonist in the Vineyards of California, "I have been following Mark Anderson for many years. He died in January at 74, just five months after he was released from prison because of his poor health. Here is the story:
A Berkeley man who embezzled thousands of bottles of wine from his clients and set fire to a warehouse in 2005, destroying 4.5 million bottles of wine worth $250 million, has died.
Mark Anderson, 74, died on Jan. 13 at the UC Davis Medical Center, just five months after he was given a compassionate release from federal prison because of his health problems. Anderson had been serving a 27-year prison term at Terminal Island Federal Penitentiary.
“The only thing sad about Mark Anderson passing is that he didn’t carry out his full sentence or pay restitution to the many victims in his crimes,” Debbie Polverino, who managed the wine storage warehouse in Vallejo that Anderson set on fire, wrote in an email. “His sentence should have included attempted murder, knowing we were still in the building when it exploded in flames. He was a coward and a criminal. Hell has a special place for people like him.”
Berkeley man who destroyed $250 million of wine in fire dies
I remember that incident, set fire to cover his tracks and destroyed huge warehouse fully of inventory of multiple wineries including irreplaceable libraries of older vintages.
Comparatively speaking, 27 is a very long sentence. Was anybody injured in the fire?
Two firefighters were injured. The long sentence is because of the $250 million loss.
He also stole more than a $1 million in wine before setting the fire.
You should read Frances Dinkelspiel’s book. Anderson comes off badly in that account.
I remember this well, Realm lost pretty much everything, and from this The Phoenix release was born, I recall we essentially bought the wine as futures to help keep the enterprise afloat.
Second a recommendation for the book, enjoyed the read quite a bit
In which account does he come off well?
Ordered a copy … sounds like ideal reading for this spring.
There’s an American Greed episode about this, the video’s from the fire that day is incredible a sea of wine boiling out of that place. Also he made a mockery of the trial whaling about back pain and laying in a table screaming in open court-freaking idiot.
The guy is dead. He’s paid everything he can pay. Time to move on.
Almost all of the remaining bottles of IW Hellman 1875 Angelica and Port were also destroyed in the fire. An irreplaceable part of California wine history. IW Hellman was a direct ancestor of Frances.
You realize that was a quote from an email written by a woman who was in the building when he set fire to it, right?
As far as I’m concerned, she can talk shit about him as often, and for as long, as she wants.
Wow. Never even heard of this. A quarter of a billion dollar loss! That must be one of the biggest losses from an “ordinary” case of arson ever (outside of massive stuff like wildfires, 9/11, great Chicago fire, etc)
Ughhh. That is horrible to hear
I feel very fortunate to have a bottle in my cellar but am always looking for another. That probably explains why i never seem to find any.
Guy was paid to store wine, stole $1M worth and sold it (at least partly through Premier Cru, apparently). Got caught. Then decided to try to cover his tracks by torching a warehouse that destroyed $250M worth of wine, including entire inventory of some wineries and irreplaceable wines. And the fire seems very unlikely to have covered his tracks well enough.
Served most but not all of his sentence, got sick, passed away, but never admitted any wrongdoing.
Of course she is entitled to still criticize him based on actual facts, as are the owners of the rare wines he stole, the owners of the wineries who lost their inventory, or any of the rest of us. This is not like speaking ill of a public figure who has passed. He was a criminal multiple times over, never showed remorse, and had a major and hugely negative impact on many other people. What is the harm done by continuing to criticize him after his death?
I’m sorry for your sorrow. You and the others are the only one paying that price at this point. He’s resting peacefully.