The Del Posto cellar in New York
Like many other restaurants in New York, the famous Del Posto is suffering from the effects of the health emergency, which has brought the NY restaurant industry to its knees (as in the rest of the world). The long lockdown period, which still limits the operation of bars and restaurants to the sole use of outdoor spaces, weighs on the balance sheet. But in addition to the difficulties that now unite the whole sector, the historic Chelsea venue (founded in 2005) add on to turbulent period that ended in 2019 with the divorce between Joe Bastianich and Mario Batali (the latter at the centre of a more than ascertained sexual harassment scandal). The two spearheaded a decidedly powerful restaurant group in New York. Bastianich, moreover, is a capable entrepreneur: in the United States, he boasts 25 restaurants, and in 2020 the group was expected to expand with the opening of additional new businesses. But everything is at a standstill, waiting for better times. Probably also to overcome the moment––"with a mixture of sadness and pride", explains Bastianich himself––Del Posto is auctioning part of its renowned cellar, which boasts one of the world's most complete collections of Italian wines, counting more than 30,000 bottles representing all the wine regions of Italy.
Bastianich wines on auction
The wine auction by Hart Davis Hart Wine Co will collect bids on July 24 and 25, at the famous auction house specializing in internationally renowned wines. Bids can be submitted live or remotely, through the support of an app or through Hart Davis Hart's online platform. And for wine enthusiasts who can afford to invest, there are many opportunities to score rare and fine bottles that sum up the history of Italian oenology and beyond, part of one of the most important wine collections ever auctioned. Divided into 3423 lots, the auction will offer selections of Barolo and Barbaresco by Bruno Giacosa, Angelo Gaja, Bartolo Mascarello, Giacomo Conterno (with a vertical of Monfortino Riserva from 1941 to 2013, including some large formats) and Giuseppe Rinaldi (including the Barolo Giuseppe Rinaldi 1964, estimated in value between 12,000 and 18,000 dollars). There are also Super Tuscans from the Ornellaia Estate (including the Masseto 2005 Magnum), Sassicaia (Tenuta San Guido 1985) and Tignanello, but also Marsala Riserva Superiore by Marco de Bartoli from 1860, and a very rare selection of Burgundy with Domaine de la Romanée-Conti. Among the lots, also bottles that were never marketed, bottled exclusively for the restaurant, such as the Recioto della Valpolicella Classico Gran Riserva by Giuseppe Quintarelli 1983.
The value of an auction that sums up the history of Italian wine
The auction house estimates that the total proceeds will be between 3 and 4.5 million dollars, partly destined to support charity causes, for projects focused on children. The operation, however, is mainly aimed at guaranteeing oxygen to the business, and Joe Bastianich doesn't hide a certain regret. He is proud nonetheless to present the cellar built with passion over the years to collectors all over the world (many have already shown interest): “These are bottles that talk about me, my story, my soul dedicated to wine. The time has come, I'm happy to share these wines, and especially these vintages, with the world. I hope they will find interested palates who will know how to fully enjoy them.” Antonio Galloni, CEO of Vinous, echoes this in introducing the auction catalogue: "This sale represents the end of an era, and I am sure that these bottles will make the lucky new owners very happy." The complete catalogue of the auction is already available online, on the Hart Davis Hart website.