Welcome to the beginning of our 90th year in business.
Our journey to this remarkable anniversary began in 1934, shortly after Prohibition ended. My grandfather, Dave Sokolin, was standing fourth in line to be granted a liquor license on that historic day. He established Dave's Liquors at 178 Madison Avenue with NY State Liquor License #4.
A visionary in every sense, Dave Sokolin was an immigrant who embodied the American dream. His work ethic quickly translated into success, but his story was cut short when he passed away at the age of fifty-eight in 1957.
Leadership passed on to my father, Bill Sokolin, who was a pioneer in his own right. Bill's passion for European wines charted a new course for the company, steering us from selling liquor into the then-nascent market of rare wines.
The initial years were challenging. Sales declined, but Bill Sokolin was undeterred. In 1959, he became the first U.S. merchant of Bordeaux futures and then promoted the 1961 vintage as "investment-grade wine" (IGW, a term he coined). He offered cases of 1961 Mouton Rothschild at $120 and Petrus at $180, urging clients to purchase ten cases each. Today, an original wood case of Petrus might command upwards of half a million dollars - if one exists.
Bill's marketing acumen was nothing short of genius. In the 1980s, he utilized remnant full-page ads in The New York Times, cementing Sokolin as a household name. These last minute ads, which we would rush to Times Square to deliver, cost just a fraction of the standard rate. I fondly recall driving down to Times Square with a full page ad that he had just typed up 30 minutes earlier. Under his leadership, Sokolin blossomed in the fine and rare wine market.
In the spring of 1996, with the advent of the internet, I made the decision to close our Madison Avenue location after 62 years, transitioning to Sokolin.com. Nearly three decades later, this move has paid dividends, preserving the pioneering spirit of my forebears.
Today, 90-years later, we strive to stay on the cutting edge of a quite traditional industry. Innovation has been key, but tradition reminds us to keep close human relationships with our clients in ways that many in this era have either forgotten or have never learned. Sokolin is not just a name; it's a promise of exceptional service, quality and an enduring commitment to client satisfaction.
While I'm not quite ready to unveil the details, 2024 will see Sokolin.com introduce a groundbreaking technological advancement, one I believe will honor the legacy of my predecessors with its intelligence and ingenuity. 90 years later, we are still innovating. Stay tuned.
Most of all, I would like to thank all of you who have made this incredible 90-year anniversary possible - every client, family member, and especially our loyal and brilliant team, many of whom have shared decades of this great ride.
We could not have done it without you all!
Warmest regards and looking forward to the next 90 years.