Home Courts $400,000 wine shipment worthless, insurer claims, when delivered to Zachys

$400,000 wine shipment worthless, insurer claims, when delivered to Zachys

A shipment of nearly 1,000 bottles of fine European wines delivered to Zachys in White Plains a year ago, arrived, according to an insurance company, as plonk.

Federal Insurance Co., acting on behalf of itself and Zachys Wine & Liquor Store Inc., sued Connoisseur International Distribution Ltd. and Scandinavian Airlines System for nearly $400,000 on May 19 in U.S. District Court in White Plains.

Zachys East Parkway store. Image via Google Maps

“The shipment we received,” Zachys purportedly complained to Connoisseur, “was deemed destroyed by heat.”

Connoisseur is a global air freight and logistics company, based near London, that specializes in shipping fine wines.

Zachys, whose main store is in Scarsdale and who auctions wines worldwide, has cultivated a reputation for purveying exceptional wines to connoisseurs and collectors.

Connoisseur shipped 995 bottles on a Scandinavian flight from Stockholm, June 3, 2019. The cargo was in good condition at the pickup point, according to the complaint, and was issued “clean” air waybills that noted no irregularities.

But the shipment that arrived June 6 at a Zachys facility in White Plains, the complaint states, was damaged by “exposure to excessive temperatures” that rendered it “unfit for intended distribution, sale and end usage.”

Federal Insurance put the damages at $397,177, or about $399 per bottle.

The insurer accuses Connoisseur and Scandinavian of breach of contract under the Montreal Convention Air Treaty; breach of bailment; and negligence, recklessness or willful misconduct.

Scandinavian did not reply to an email asking for its side of the story. Connoisseur director Nick Terry replied, “We have nothing outstanding and no issues whatsoever with this customer.”

Federal Insurance is represented by Manhattan attorney David L. Mazaroli.


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