In what appears to be a major housecleaning exercise at Phillips International Auctioneers, new owner LVMH Mokt-Hennessy Louis Vuitton has temporarily closed the auction house's New York wine department. Wine director Jean-Pierre Galateau and auction coordinator Janice Levinson, as well as several other department heads and key executives, are no longer with the firm.
"We have no wine sales scheduled right now, nor can we comment on future plans," said a representative of Phillips, which was purchased by LVMH for $135 million last month.
However, Michael Goldstein, president of Park Avenue Liquor Shop, Phillips' retail licensee and auction partner in New York, shed some additional light on the situation. "I don't know what LVMH's game plan is," he said, "but I understand that they are closing a number of departments and are probably going to move to bigger and better headquarters."
Goldstein added that he would be meeting with Phillips' new president, Dan Klein, in January. "I was asked to renew their [wine auction] license for 2000, so there probably will be wine sales at a later date once they get reestablished," Goldstein said. "I would imagine it is in LVMH's interests to continue auctioning fine and rare wine."
Read the original news report on the Phillips sale: