Sotheby’s has gone into the retail wine business in New York City.
The auction house has bought out Aulden Cellars, the retail wine store on the ground floor of its headquarters on the upscale Upper East Side.
The new, redesigned shop is called Sotheby’s Wine. It is the first of its kind for the company.
Jamie Ritchie, president and CEO, Sotheby’s Wine, Americas and Asia, told Decanter.com that the announcement today is a result of a transaction quietly carried out in 2008.
That year it bought out Aulden Cellars and then started planning to sell fine wine at retail.
When Sotheby’s began its wine auctions in 1994, New York State law required that stand-alone auction houses that wanted to deal in rare and fine wine had to partner with a store that had held a state liquor license for 10 years.
Sotheby’s first partner was Sherry-Lehmann. The relationship ended in late 1999.
At that point Sothebys found another licensee and the resulting store was nameed Aulden Cellars.
Ritchie said that if its Manhattan store is successful it may open Sotheby’s Wine stores elsewhere in the US.
Sotheby’s will be about to ship to roughly half of the 50 states.
Sotheby’s said its new, walk-in ‘full-service store’ offers ‘a range of wine at competitive prices from US$13.95 to US$40,000 per bottle.’
Christie’s, a principal competitor in Manhattan, whose wine auctions are carried out as NYWines/Christie’s, remains affiliated with a store, New York Wine Warehouse.
Written by Howard G Goldberg in New York