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It means that expertise previously only available to those wishing to bid at auction is now available at both Sotheby's Wine at 1334 York Avenue on Manhattan's Upper East Side and www.sothebyswine.com.

The retail store offers advice on starting a cellar, when to drink your wine and holding a wine tasting or dinner, while the website invites customers to browse by producer, region, vintage, varietal and price.

Bottles are priced from an affordable $13.95 up to $40,000.

The company's wine sales totalled $35m in the first half of 2010 – a 76 per cent rise on the previous year.