Le Cirque forced to sell wine to make space

NEW YORK Tue Oct 21, 2008 5:39pm EDT

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - No one ever has enough space in Manhattan, even one the city's most exclusive restaurants -- Le Cirque.

Its owners are planning to sell some of its finest wines because the 27-foot (8.2 meter) steel and glass wine tower in the 16,000 sq ft restaurant on Manhattan's East Side isn't big enough to hold its expansive collection.

"We have too much wine. Have you seen our tower? Well there's even more in storage," owner Sirio Maccioni said in an interview.

Christie's will auction cases of Bordeaux, including the 1959 Chateaux Margaux, the '82 Mouton-Rothschild and some relatively young '95 Petrus, and other wines, at the restaurant on Nov 17.

"For the first time, as far as we're aware, a restaurant is selling some of its stock directly from its cellar," said Rik Pike, a spokesman for Christie's.

Maccioni, who has owned the restaurant and catered to its jet-set clientele since it opened nearly 30 years ago, is working with his sommelier to decide which Barolos and Barbarescos to sell.

"I have to be honest. We have some very fine wines, but they're also very expensive," he conceded.

Some cases could fetch up to $20,000 or more, according to Christie's.

Maccioni plans to use the proceeds of the sale to replenish the middle of the wine list, and to make room for more recent vintages.

Dinner will also be served during the evening auction. The menu for the $395 per person pix fixe meal, including wine, is still being decided.

(Reporting by Leslie Gevirtz, editing by Patricia Reaney)