A Restaurateur’s Passion for Building a Wine Cellar

By Jamie Ritchie & Adam Bilbey

T he world of wine collecting embodies passion, friendship and sharing. It is also littered with wonderful individuals and characters, of which Peter Strolz, the forty-two year old owner of Fux Restaurant in Lech, Austria, is undoubtedly one. Larger than life, Peter displays a superb knowledge of wine, a hunger for learning more and an incredible generosity in sharing great bottles.

Over the past twenty years, Peter has dreamt of breaking the norm and offering visitors to Lech a new and exciting gastronomic experience. In the form of Fux Restaurant, Peter has succeeded with two contrasting restaurants that very much broke the mould for what a visitor to Lech would expect. This also gave Peter the opportunity to nurture his love of wine and he set about to curate not just the finest wine cellar in Lech but one of the finest in Austria. 

LOTS 8256, 8259, 8264 AND 8265. ROMANÉE CONTI 1990,2004, 2005 DOMAINE DE LA ROMANÉE-CONTI. ESTIMATE HKD 130,000–350,000. ($16,615–25,562.)

Earlier this year, on separate visits to Lech, we enjoyed getting to know Peter, discussing this special sale and inspecting the wines. It became very obvious that this is a family business, with Peter's brother Ingo owning the hotel next to Fux Restaurant and Peter's cousin owning the hotel next to that! In fact, Peter's family have based themselves in Lech for generations and his father was a pioneer of the region, building one of the town’s very first hotels. There is great camaraderie and team spirit shared by people local to this region that is wonderful to see. Although Fux Restaurant offers a new and contemporary experience it is steeped in the history of the region.

During our separate visits, we experienced first hand the generosity of both Peter and the Strolz family. Peter’s passion for wine has undoubtedly rubbed off on family members, and every evening was spent discussing great vintages or new exciting producers. In fact, Peter tipped us off on a few new exciting Burgundy vignerons that we had never heard of before... though that information is staying with us!

LOT 8233. LA TÂCHE 2006 DOMAINE DE LA ROMANÉE-CONTI. ESTIMATE HKD 55,000–80,000 ($7,030–10, 225).

The wines we offer in this sale are a very small sample of this quite breathtaking restaurant cellar. The sale does focus on Peter's main love - the wines of Burgundy. Here we are lucky enough to offer great depth from the legends of the region: DRC, Rousseau, de Vogüé to name but a few. Peter’s knowledge and astute attention to detail when collecting means the vast majority of the wines offered were purchased on release from the local distributor. The condition of the wines is impeccable. 

So to come full circle: Collecting wine invokes passion, sharing and creates friendships. Peter, his family and Fux Restaurant embody these perfectly, and we invite you to bid and celebrate this spirit with a bottle or two from this wonderful restaurant cellar. 

Jamie Ritchie is the Worldwide Head of Sotheby's Wine, and Adam Bibley is the Head of Sotheby's Wine Asia.

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