Moving an Upper East Side Wine Institution


Think moving is a pain? Try doing it with 60,000 bottles of wine. That’s what the venerable Sherry-Lehmann Wine & Spirits shop did this weekend when they left their famous Madison Avenue space for new digs on Park Avenue and 59th Street (it'll open tomorrow). Just before the big day, we chatted with owner Michael Aaron about the store's history in hooch. "Andy Warhol used to come by all the time," Aaron said. "When he designed the Mouton-Rothschild label for the 1975 vintage, we put the bottles on display. I called Andy and said, 'Please stop by, because the bottles are so fantastic-looking.'"

"So he came by, and you know he never really said a lot, so he walked in, and he’s standing meditating over the bottles." Warhol asked to sign a few magnums, which sold immediately. "I made a deal with him, and he came here and signed about 50 bottles," said Aaron. "This was in 1977. These bottles still go up for auction for a fortune today." Other celebrities to attend the shop over the years regularly include Cary Grant, Anthony Quinn, and Zero Mostel, who "used to jump behind the counter and pretend he was a salesperson." "Chevy Chase to this day is a wonderful customer, but he got his start working at Sherry-Lehmann," said Aaron. "He drove a truck for us." Aw, that's cute. And a little scary. —Marcy Swingle