Owners denied access to 27,000 cases of wine in NYC23rd July, 2013 by Lucy Shaw
A New York wine storage facility flooded during Hurricane Sandy is keeping over 27,000 cases of wine on lockdown, with customers being refused access to their own wine.
According to The New York Times, Derek Limbocker, owner of Manhattan-based WineCare Storage, has not allowed anyone inside his facility in Chelsea since it was hit by the hurricane last October.
Limbocker has also banned any bottles from leaving the warehouse, yet continues to bill customers for the use of the facility, one of the largest in the US.
Before the hurricane hit, WineCare offered same-day delivery to its clientele.
The New York Times reports that Limbocker claims 95% of the wines were undamaged in the hurricane, but his behaviour has led many clients to speculate that much of the wine inside the facility has been harmed by the storm.
A number of prominent New York wine collectors have filled lawsuits against Limbocker, who filed for bankruptcy a day before one of his clients, Philip Waterman III, was due to inspect his £200,000 collection stored at the facility.
Among them are Donald Drapkin, a hedge fund manager who has part of his wine collection, which has an estimated value of £3.4m, stored at WineCare.
London-based New York restaurant owner Keith McNally, who opened his first UK outpost, Balthazar London, this April, is also seeking damages from the company.
“Everyone in the New York wine world is aware of it,” Jamie Ritchie, president of Sotheby’s Wine, told The New York Times.
Limbocker admitted to the newspaper that humidity levels from the storm lifted the labels off some 1,200 bottles and that thousands of bottles broke in transit when cases were moved to avoid flood waters.
WineCare is allegedly working to clean up the bottles that survived the storm and
Limbocker has been given permission to relocate the wine to a warehouse in New Jersey.
Having owned and run an off licence on New York’s Upper East Side, Limbocker opened WineCare Storage in 2005.
Hurricane Sandy killed 44 people in New York City and ravaged 305,000 homes in New York State.