Zachys auction house scored big in its European debut Sept. 12, thanks to a consignment from the Grand Award–winning restaurant Enoteca Pinchiorri. The New York–based auction house sold over 2,500 bottles from restaurant owner Giorgio Pinchiorri's world-renowned cellar in Florence, Italy, bringing in a total of $4.1 million. The event took place at Cabotte Wine Bar and Restaurant in London, but was available via livestream and overseen from the Zachys home office in White Plains, N.Y., by president Jeff Zacharia and head of sales Charles Antin.
"The decision to eventually hold auctions in London was a natural next step for us, made long before COVID-19," Jeff Zacharia told Wine Spectator. "Our year has been going so well, despite challenges, that we decided to press forward with the sale, and we're glad we did."
The Zachys and Enoteca Pinchiorri partnership comes as restaurants are struggling, while collectible wines remain in demand. Some restaurants are selling their wine inventory either in retail or at auctions to help stay afloat.
"An award-winning restaurant considers its cellar a fundamental resource," Giorgio Pinchiorri told Wine Spectator. "We have auctioned only a small part of the wines in our cellar and the reasons for doing so have been the reorganization of our cellar and the funding of new restaurant projects." A Grand Award winner since 1984, the Florence restaurant has 80,000 bottles in its cellar.
The auction took place Sept. 12, with 864 lots featuring some of wine's biggest names, including Pétrus and Château d'Yquem bottles dating back to the 1920s. The auction sold 100 percent of its lots, mostly to European bidders, while setting 226 world records.
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Record breakers included a single magnum of Henri Jayer Richebourg 1979 and a Georges Roumier Musigny 1990, which sold for $60,400 each. A single imperial (6 liters) of Pétrus 2009 was picked up for $54,000, while a bottle of Jayer Richebourg 1985 sold for $44,500. A methuselah (Burgundy's 6-liter bottle) of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Romanée St.-Vivant 1981 fetched nearly $40,000.
Zachys' London operation didn't take shape overnight. The auction house assembled a team in Europe four years ago, and the original plan, pre-pandemic, was to celebrate the long-awaited expansion with a week of events culminating into a large live auction, but Zacharia says virtual auctions are and will continue to be a great source of growth for the family-run business.
"Nothing will change the excitement and camaraderie of a live auction, but these 'studio sales' are much easier logistically, so we can have more of them," Zacharia said. "And our bidders love them." Zachys is already planning a second London auction in November.
According to Zachys head of Europe Christy Erickson, Enoteca Pinchiorri's owners felt it was the right time to let go of some of its wines, but the majority of the cellar still remains. The restaurant has consigned additional large-format bottles to Baghera Wines Auction & Trading for a sale later this year in Geneva.