Sotheby's retail partner Aulden Cellars has moved into Sotheby's headquarters on New York's Upper East Side.
Aulden Cellars – which opened in its new location on Monday – originally lay only a couple of blocks from Ground Zero. Though not damaged in the World Trade Center attack on 11 September, it was closed for a while.
The tiny store is of small consequence in the New York wine retailing scene, but is seen in the wine industry as a creation that has enabled Sotheby’s to dominate its legally necessary retail partner, which previously had been the formidable Sherry-Lehmann.
Aulden’s apparent subservience in the new relationship, dating to April 2000, seems reflected in the oddity of its new location, on the ground floor of Sotheby’s. Almost all wine stores in Manhattan face directly onto avenues and side streets.
Aulden manages the post-sale delivery and pickup of wines, and now for some customers the logistics will be easier. Jamie Ritchie, senior vice president of Sotheby’s wine department said, ‘We believe this will be a great benefit to our clients, enabling them to pick up their wine auction purchases from Sotheby’s building. The new shop will also offer clients and the neighborhood a broad array of wines, for both collecting and everyday drinking.’
Aulden owner Alice Lucca said that after 11 September, relocation was necessary ‘in order to continue to grow our retail wine business.’
Sotheby’s has generated sales of more than US$29 million (€33m) during its relationship with Aulden Cellars. The next wine auction in New York is May 18.
Written by Howard G Goldberg in New York9 April 2002