The Morrell Family
Morrell & Co
A New York institution since 1947, Morrell & Company owes its origins to the brothers Samuel and Joseph Morrell, who entered the American wine trade as salesmen for an old fashioned Virginia winery. When Prohibition hit, the brothers remained active as vintners to New York City’s churches, synagogues, and physicians.
In 1947, the brothers parted ways and Sam opened a small wine store on East 49th Street. From these humble beginnings, over the next 65 years, three generations of Morrells would come to their careers as merchant vintners to Gotham City wine lovers.
In 1972, Morrell & Company launched the Wine Emporium on East 53rd Street, the first major new wine store to open in New York in over three decades – with over 5,000 square feet devoted to wine.
In the mid 1970’s, Morrell & Company became the first New York wine merchant to publish catalogues with our own extensive tasting notes.
In 1980, Morrell & Company started The New York City Chapter of The Brotherhood of the Knights of the Vine and soon thereafter we were among the first American wine merchants to invite the proprietors of top Bordeaux chateaux to come to New York to taste their wines with New York area wine lovers.
In the ‘90s, we launched our first Annual International Wine Fair, our “Celebrity Saturday” in-store wine tastings and our special format catalogues, ‘The 100 Best Wines of the Year.’ Our President Roberta Morrell took American wines to Russia, and, once again, Morrell & Company was first to take up the gavel and hold the first open to the public Fine Wine Auction in New York on April 29, 1994.
Today, we welcome all of our new Internet customers, and personally invite each of you to visit us at our Rockefeller Center store and at The Morrell Wine Bar & Cafe when next you are in New York. Our company’s motto is Taste You Can Trust.
Chairman, The Morrell Wine Group
Today, Mr. Morrell is Chairman & Wine Advisor to Morrell & Company, one of America’s most prominent wine merchants.
Peter is the second generation of his family in the wine trade. He began his wine education and apprenticeship in 1963, at the age of 19, by studying and working in the vineyards and cellars of Germany and France. In 1970, Peter and a French associate arranged for the acquisition of a vineyard in the Bordeaux.
In 1972, Peter became CEO and President of Morrell & Company and introduced a new approach to the merchandising of wine at retail by publishing two 56-page wine lists, Fall Wine Preview and The Great Wine Grapes and The Wines They Make, containing his personal evaluations of thousands of wines, both American and imported.
Now published quarterly, The Morrell & Company Catalogues are also supplemented with a Holiday issue. In 1984, Mr. Morrell was among the small group of independents awarded the “Superstar Retail Entrepreneur Leader Award” by Market Watch Magazine. He has been included on the annual list every year since.
In the spring of 1994, Peter made wine history when Morrell & Company successfully conducted the first commercial fine wine auction of privately owned wines ever to be held in New York State. Since then Morrell & Company Fine Wine Auctions has held many Fine Wine Auctions.
Peter has acted as an official wine judge in Bordeaux, Melbourne and Montreal and has been invited by numerous foreign government and domestic wine organizations to speak at wine industry events. In addition, he has appeared on numerous wine judging panels in the US. In 1986 the French government awarded Peter The Merite Agricole and the Italian government presented him with an award for his service to the Italian wine industry.
In addition to his chairmanship of Morrell & Company in Manhattan, Peter is recognized within the wine trade as an international wine authority and prominent industry spokesman. He has been the host of a live radio talk show on WABC and has appeared often on television news and talk shows both locally and nationally on CNN, NBC, CBS and ABC, as well as the Television Food Network. He frequently lectures and has contributed articles on wine to numerous publications.
“We’ve had a wine shop in Manhattan since 1947, now at one Rockefeller Plaza, in the heart of New York City. Directly next door to our wine shop is our wine bar – a great place to stop for both a delectable meal and to enjoy a delicious glass of wine – perhaps to taste something new. We offer over 100 choices of wine by the glass, from inexpensive Côtes du Rhônes, to elegant Bordeaux, to very special American Cabernets.”
President, The Morrell Wine Group
Roberta Morrell spent most of her childhood in and around the world of the wine and restaurant trade. It was during those early years that she developed her fascination with wine and food. After college she married and moved with her young family to southern Spain where she lived for over six years, traveling extensively to vineyards throughout Spain, France and Italy, furthering her wine knowledge.
After her return to the U.S. in 1976, Roberta rejoined Morrell & Company, which by then had become a mecca for wine-lovers in Manhattan. She became involved in the marketing and administrative aspects of the business.
Today the highly visible and energetic President of Morrell & Company, Roberta is a member of numerous wine and food fraternities. She particularly enjoys lecturing and arranging wine tastings for professional women’s groups.
Managing Director, The Morrell Wine Group
Nikos Antonakeas, a native of Athens, Greece, was born into a military family and spent his formative years living in many different European cities. While in business school in Paris, he supplemented his studies working in the advertising department of a major national monthly publication where he worked first in the production department and later became media coordinator.
In 1983, Nikos moved to New York and joined forces with Peter and Roberta Morrell as Managing Director of Morrell & Company where he was in charge of marketing and media production. Over the years, Nikos has contributed greatly to the strong diversity of the Morrell & Company wine inventory, for which the company is justly famous.
In 1997, he was appointed Managing Director of the Morrell & Company Fine Wine Auction division. Under his stewardship the Fine Wine Auction Division has achieved international acclaim and recognition from such major publications as The New York Times, Forbes, Business Week and Wine Spectator. Additionally, Morrell was rated “The Best Wine Auction House in New York” by New York Magazine in May 1998.
He is a member of numerous professional wine organizations throughout the world in recognition for his services to the wine business, such as the prestigious Commanderie de Bordeaux of France and Cavalieri di Vini Nobili of Italy.