US restaurants are selling their trophy wines to survive Covid-19

A number of top US restaurants have taken to selling off some of the prized bottles from their cellars in order to stay afloat during the coronavirus crisis.

Manresa in Los Gatos, California, is selling off wines from its cellar to stay afloat during the Covid-19 pandemic

As reported by Eater, Jim Rollston, wine director at Manresa in California, has started selling off some of the most prized wines in the restaurant’s cellar in order to be able to pay staff salaries.

Over the last few weeks he has been selling “unicorn” wines like Keller G-Max Riesling Troken from the Rheinhessen to Manresa regulars with a fine wine habit for $800 rather than the market rate of $1,500-$2,000.

“Our pricing was way below the market price, intentionally, because I wanted people to see that and swoop in, which they did,” Rollston told Eater.

Jim Rollston has started selling prized bottles from Manresa’s cellar

Word quickly spread of the wines being offered and within the first week, the restaurant had raised over $40,000 from rare wine sales to wealthy collectors, with one collector splashing out $20,000 on wine.

“We’ll never be able to purchase a lot of those wines again because they’re so rare or so expensive in the open market. We had to balance the current need to generate revenue with the hope that we will reopen, and guard some nice wines for the future,” Rollston added.

Restaurant wine cellars are proving a gold mine for operators that need to make money as quickly as possible in order to keep their staff on during the pandemic.

“Selling wine, whether as add-ons for food pick up or directly to consumers, makes a ton of sense right now. The best part is that these are not perishable goods, and we already have them on site,” Nick Kokonas, co-owner of the Alinea Group, told Eater.

Other US restaurants have begun offering some of their prized wines to auction houses in order to make money while their doors are closed.

Zach Pelka, who runs Champagne bar The Riddler in New York and San Francisco, is in talks with auction house Acker to sell off some of his stock. Zachys auction house is doing a similar thing with wines from fine dining restaurants across the US.

“We can help restaurants because we can sell massive amounts of high-end wine very quickly,” Zachys president, Jeff Zacharia, told Eater.

Leave your reply

Most Recent Stories

Amuse-bouches: The latest restaurant news bites

We round up the the week's restaurant news and latest sites offering takeaway and delivery, including Hakkasan's Mexican eatery making an appearance in London, and a pizza pop-up from the team behind Lyle's and Flor.

New York State restaurants reopen for outdoor dining

Restaurants in seven regions of New York state have been given permission by governor Andrew Cuomo to open for outdoor dining today.

Young's plans to reopen pubs in August

UK pub company Young's said it is confident it can return to profitable growth by 2022 as it plans to reopen sites in August.

Pierre Gagnaire's two Michelin-star HK restaurant to close

Pierre, a two Michelin-starred restaurant set up by celebrity chef Pierre Gagnaire 14 years ago, is due to close after a six-month renovation of the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, which will start in August.

Dutch restaurants recruit robot waiters as Covid-19 restrictions ease

Two restaurants in the Netherlands are using robotic waiting staff to serve food and maintain social distancing as eateries in the country reopen this week. 

Most Recent Stories

Amuse-bouches: The latest restaurant news bites

We round up the the week's restaurant news and latest sites offering takeaway and delivery, including Hakkasan's Mexican eatery making an appearance in London, and a pizza pop-up from the team behind Lyle's and Flor.

New York State restaurants reopen for outdoor dining

Restaurants in seven regions of New York state have been given permission by governor Andrew Cuomo to open for outdoor dining today.

Young's plans to reopen pubs in August

UK pub company Young's said it is confident it can return to profitable growth by 2022 as it plans to reopen sites in August.

Pierre Gagnaire's two Michelin-star HK restaurant to close

Pierre, a two Michelin-starred restaurant set up by celebrity chef Pierre Gagnaire 14 years ago, is due to close after a six-month renovation of the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, which will start in August.

Dutch restaurants recruit robot waiters as Covid-19 restrictions ease

Two restaurants in the Netherlands are using robotic waiting staff to serve food and maintain social distancing as eateries in the country reopen this week.