Business

Sherry-Lehmann’s hidden ‘Wine Caves’ possibly found in FBI raid

The FBI raided a sleepy office complex north of New York City this week — and it could be the unlikely site where iconic wine shop Sherry-Lehmann has secretly been stashing a fortune in fine wines, The Post has learned.

On Tuesday — even as FBI agents were scouring Sherry-Lehmann’s now-shuttered shop on the Upper East Side, as reported exclusively by The Post — another FBI team descended upon a suburban tower in Pearl River, NY in what looked like an orchestrated blitz, sources close to the situation said.

The FBI appears to have been searching for what could be a massive, stash of prize booze in an underground, air-conditioned room at Blue Hill Plaza where computer servers are located, a source with knowledge of the investigation told The Post.

News 12 Hudson Valley, a local TV station operated by Altice, reported the FBI raid in New York’s Rockland County, including a confirmation from the agency that it had been at the office park called Blue Hill Plaza.


Ariel view of Blue Hill Plaza
Blue Hill Plaza in Pearl River, NY is owned by the same landlord as Sherry-Lehmann’s Park Avenue store.
LCM247/Wikimedia Commons

The FBI did not disclose to the outlet the reason it was there, and didn’t immediately respond to The Post’s requests for comment. 

Sources close to Sherry-Lehmann, however, note that Blue Hill Plaza is owned by Hong Kong-based Glorious Sun Group — which also owns the glass-and-steel tower at 505 Park Ave. where Sherry-Lehmann has been an anchor tenant since 2007.

The apparent, coordinated raid on the embattled, 88-year-old vintner comes as the feds investigate the disappearance of clients’ prized vintages even as the shop has shuttered, according to sources close to the situation.

The mystery intensified last August, when Sherry-Lehmann co-owners Shyda Gilmer and Kris Green moved a wine-storage service registered under the name “Wine Caves” from a warehouse at 156–02 Liberty Ave. in Jamaica Queens, which is the address listed on its State Liquor Authority warehouse permit, which expires on Dec. 31. 

A real estate agent representing the Jamaica space confirmed that Wine Caves moved out last summer. Former Sherry-Lehmann employees said it was evicted for not paying the rent.


Sherry-Lehmann's store with FBI agents in front.
On the same day that FBI agents raided Sherry-Lehmann’s Park Avenue store, a group of agents scoured Blue Hill Plaza.
James Keivom

Gilmer and Green, however, never registered a new storage facility with the SLA — rendering any new storage facility illegal. 

“A warehouse liquor license is not a driver’s license,” said liquor license attorney, Max Bookman. “It’s issued for a particular location and you need a new one if you move.”

There also is no record of the Wine Caves business at either of the two buildings at Blue Hill Plaza, according to interviews with the property management company, CBRE, as well as security guards and a list of tenants on display in the lobbies during a recent visit to the buildings by The Post.

Glorious Sun declined to comment on whether and why Wine Caves is located in its building, its attorney told The Post.


Kris Green (left) and Shyda Gilmer.
Kris Green (left) and Shyda Gilmer are apparently targets of the FBI investigation.
Eugene Gologursky

But the Hong Kong real estate company, which owns just seven buildings in the US, served Sherry-Lehmann in June with an eviction notice for its Park Ave. location, according to a Wine Spectator report.

Sherry-Lehmann owes Glorious Sun $3.6 million in rent that goes back to 2020, according to the report.

Wine Caves is a separate company from Sherry-Lehmann and offers long term wine storage for its wealthy clients, who may not have the space for their vast collections or wanted a safe-keeping place for their expensive hooch.

One such client, Mercedes Bass, the wife of late oil tycoon Sid Bass, kept her collection at Wine Caves and became aware that some of her bottles had been removed from the facility without her permission and delivered to another customer, The New York Times reported.

Gilmer told The Times that the transfer had been a mistake and that the wine would be returned within days, according to the report. A spokesman for Sherry-Lehmann said the Bass family had picked up its collection from Wine Caves, but the family said that was not true, according to the report.

Sherry-Lehmann faces multiple threats, including lawsuits from its customers and vendors who were allegedly stiffed by the venerable retailer.


Shyda Gilmer holding a bottle of champagne.
Shyda Gilmer joined Sherry-Lehmann in 1996 and became a co-owner in 2005.
New York Post

At least three customers sued the iconic retailer claiming they are owed more than $1 million worth of wine futures they bought several years ago that never arrived. 

The shuttered shop also owes New York nearly $2.8 million million in unpaid sales tax, of which Gilmer is personally liable.

Gilmer joined Sherry-Lehmann in 1996 in sales and became co-owner of the company in 2005.

Green, a former hedge fund executive, invested in the business in 2013, becoming a co-owner at the time. 

The pair are often seen dining at Nobu, separately or together — and in the past with clients.

Gilmer was spotted there this month, sources tell The Post, as well as at a Cigar Bar in Manhattan.

Gilmer and Green, who appear to be targets of the FBI investigation, according to former Sherry-Lehmann employees who have been questioned by law enforcement, didn’t respond to requests for comment.  

Nixon Peabody, a law firm representing Sherry-Lehmann in lawsuits over missing wine from former customers, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

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