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Wally’s Wine & Spirits launches auction house

The new owners of landmark Los Angeles store Wally's Wine & Spirits are moving into the fine wine auction business with the establishment of Wally's Auction House.

The move comes just weeks after brothers Maurice and Paul Marciano, founders of the Guess fashion business, joined forces with Wally’s co-owner Christian Navarro to buy the retailer from its founder, Steve Wallace.

Two former Zachys auction house executives will lead the new venture: Michael Jessen joins as president and CEO after 10 years’ working in fine wine, most recently as head of Zachys’ auction division.

Meanwhile, Julia Gilbert has been appointed as managing director, with eight years of wine auction industry experience and having spent several years as auction director at Zachys.

Jessen said he was ‘thrilled’ to be joining the new business, adding: ‘I am especially excited for the opportunity to build a world-class wine auction company.’

Maurice Marciano said the new auction business would hold its first auction ‘within the next year’, promising that the wines sold would be ‘world class’.

Wally’s, founded in 1968 and boasting Hollywood customers such as Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson, was bought by the Marcianos and Navarro in June this year.

Early reports suggested that the Marcianos were also keen to expand the retail business into other cities across the US.

Written by Richard Woodard

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