Sherry-Lehmann, the New York City wine shop that evolved into a national purveyor of high-end bottles, has allegedly failed to deliver $1 million in paid inventory to customers, according to the New York Times. The May 25 article reports that the company allegedly owes New York State $2.8 million in unpaid sales taxes, and details a history of financial trouble, tumultuous management turnover, and rapidly-decreasing inventory over the last 15 years.

The company, founded by Jack Aaron in 1934, has been a mainstay in the New York wine industry for almost nine decades. But around 2016, the Times reports, the company allegedly began failing to deliver purchased wines, with some buyers waiting years to see their bottles — if at all. Now, customers have reported issues acquiring their paid-for wines from Wine Caves, a separate storage service managed by Sherry-Lehmann owners. Former employees allege that Sherry-Lehmann may have sold lucrative bottles from its Wine Cave storage to other customers.

One of the most expensive debts in question involves a $385,000 invoice for an order of several vintage wines, including bottles of 1995 Domaine de la Romanee Conti (DRC) La Tache priced at $7,995 each. Sherry-Lehmann temporarily closed its Manhattan brick-and-mortar shop in March 2023 after its liquor license expired, according to The Drinks Business. Wholesale clients have also since reported delinquent payments from the purveyor to the state liquor authority.

Sherry-Lehmann and CEO Shyda Gilmer have not released public statements in response to the Times’ story.

The allegations come on the heels of another industry scandal involving high-end wines being withheld from buyers. Wine reseller Underground Cellar is currently facing $25 million in debt and 37,000 unsecured claims, as former customers allege they never received their purchases before the company went bankrupt.

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