NYWinesChristie's has revamped its auction schedule in order to increase attendance in its salesroom. Starting April 9, the firm will conduct its wine auctions on Saturdays instead of weekdays. An even greater inducement to be there in person will be the new Leading Chefs Lunches held in the Christie's boardroom, to which participants are invited to bring their favorite wines.
The program will begin on April 9 with a lunch by the highly acclaimed Thomas Keller, chef and owner of the French Laundry in Napa Valley and of Per Se in Manhattan. Keller will return to the Leading Chefs Lunches on June 4. Future guest chefs may be chosen according to the themes of specific auctions, such as the stars of Spain.
"Saturday sale days mean easier access for our buyers and new potential for wine lovers to pursue their passion for fine wines and food at our auctions," said Richard Brierley, head of the North American Wine Sales department at Christie's.
The lunches will cost $125 per person, which includes access to the presale wine tastings. Christie's boardroom accommodates roughly 50 to 60 people, so the meals are offered on a first-come, first-served basis. For reservations and more information, contact Lisa Bottomley at (212) 636-2097 or email@example.com.
The savvy move puts Christie's on a more even playing field with its New York competitors. Zachys holds its Manhattan sales at Daniel, where a $50 buffet lunch is available and select wines from the auction are offered free. Acker Merrall & Condit is now conducting its auctions at Cru restaurant, where a $65 three-course or a $85 five-course lunch will be offered along with fine wine from the sale. Aulden Cellars-Sotheby's provides registered auction-goers with a free lunch prepared by the auction house's boardroom chef and welcomes attendees to bring their own wines.
It's all a far cry from the classroom environment that characterized the earliest Manhattan auctions, when plastic-wrapped sandwiches were the norm.
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