A mysterious customer ordered 115 bottles of wine from a Culver City shop to be sent to Vatican City.
Michael Carpenter, the owner of Redd Collection, said he received a call last Tuesday morning from a man who asked if the wine shop carried hundreds of bottles of 2008 Varvaglione “Papale” Primitivo di Manduria.
Carpenter initially didn’t think anything of the request—until he realized the call was coming from the Vatican and there are exactly 115 cardinals.
“They gave me credit card information and started reading off the address…and that’s when it became very apparent that this was going to Vatican City,” he said. “(The caller) never said, ‘Please don’t say anything, please be discreet.’”
Carpenter said the order was also unusual because people don’t typically spend about $4,500 to ship wine to Europe.
“You rarely spend that much on wine…$20 a bottle. And then spend $20 on shipping to get it to Europe. And there’s no card. No congratulations,” he said.
Carpenter said the red Zinfandel, however, is no stranger to the Vatican.
“That region (of Puglia, Italy) was actually named because Pope Benedict XIII in the 18th Century bought lots of wine from that region,” he said.
Carpenter believes the customer picked his shop because the Redd Collection comes up first on winesearcher.com, but he’s honored by the purchase, nonetheless.
“It’s a big moment in history…picking a new pope. So it’s a good thing,” he said.