Chester County Hospital, citing a provision of Pennsylvania liquor code, has petitioned Chester County Court to take possession of 1,400 bottles of rare wines from a couple's collection and sell them to raise money.

The state plans to destroy the wines - whose value has been estimated at about $150,000 - which were among 2,447 bottles seized in a January 2014 raid on their Malvern home.

The state had alleged that attorney Arthur Goldman was running a sophisticated wine-selling operation out of his home and charged him with unlawful sales of liquor. Goldman, who did not enter a plea, was admitted into a two-year Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program and could see his record expunged.

The case, prosaically called Commonwealth of Pennsylvania vs. 2,447 Bottles of Wine, was a legal drama that played out for more than a year and a half during forfeiture proceedings.

The state had stored the wine at a Southwest Philadelphia warehouse. Attorneys for Goldman and his wife, attorney Melissa Kurtzman, had argued that the warehouse's temperature and humidity conditions put the wines' drinkability and value in jeopardy.

Kurtzman sought the return of the confiscated wine on grounds that she is a joint owner but not a party to the criminal matter.

In July 2015, monitoring equipment was placed in the warehouse for 10 days. It showed that the temperature in the room varied between 73 and 86 degrees, and the relative humidity ranged from 29 percent to 67 percent.

Last month, an expert retained by the state, Marnie Old, and an expert for the couple, John McNulty, took samples from 50 bottles, and concluded that the parties were not quarreling over vinegar, according to court filings.

On Aug. 18, the state agreed to settle the forfeiture and allow Goldman and Kurtzman to choose 1,047 bottles, which they picked up last week.

But rather than allow the 1,400 remaining bottles to go down a drain, attorney Dawson R. Muth of West Chester petitioned the court on behalf of the hospital. Under Sections 6-602 and 6-603 of the liquor code, a court may order so-called condemned liquor, alcohol, or malt or brewed beverages to be delivered to a hospital for its use.

In his letter to Judge Edward R. Griffith, Muth wrote that in November 2014, the Liquor Control Board's attorney, Faith Smith Diehl, had written a letter to Attorney General Kathleen Kane to "strongly advocate this extensive wine collection be turned over to a worthy nonprofit hospital."  Since the seizure was in Chester County, the letter argued, it should be a local hospital.

A hearing is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 3.

The Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement received a tip about Goldman in March 2013 and made several purchases throughout that year before the January 2014 raid.

Though prosecutors had alleged that Goldman was running a business, in court papers Goldman's role was characterized as more of a procurer - someone who bought wine on behalf of friends and merely passed along shipping and handling charges.

Peter E. Kratsa, Goldman's attorney, had argued that the few bottles that the undercover agent had picked up at Goldman's home did not warrant the confiscation of the couple's entire collection.

Asked if justice had been served, Kratsa and Barbara A. Darkes, Kurtzman's Harrisburg-based attorney, said in a statement:

"Our clients are pleased to have reached a resolution with the Pennsylvania State Police that ended the Commonwealth's forfeiture action and provided for the return of a significant portion of their personal wine collection. While no settlement is perfect and, as with most settlements, we believe it is fair to say that neither side got exactly what it wanted, once again keeping the scales of justice balanced at the conclusion of this matter. For our clients, this settlement allowed them to select a substantial portion of their personal collection that was most treasured by them (the "crown jewels") and to resolve the matter without further litigation costs.

"The fact that we negotiated their ability to select those bottles was extremely significant. In doing so, they were able to retain a large percentage of the total value of their personal wine collection, which was not only a significant monetary investment, but their shared passion. Ultimately, Art and Melissa had to weigh the significant cost of further litigation, and their legitimate concerns about the continued viability of the wine considering the manner in which it was being stored by the Commonwealth, against attempting to get all of it back, or negotiating a settlement. It was apparent that the cost of continuing the litigation far outweighed the value to them of the additional bottles from their personal collection.

"The settlement did not address what the Commonwealth will do with the remainder of the wine, but our clients had previously and repeatedly expressed their hope to the Commonwealth that it be donated to an appropriate entity that can benefit from its sale, rather than be destroyed. The Chester County Hospital would be a worthy recipient and, per the Pennsylvania Liquor Code, forfeited wine may be either destroyed or donated to a hospital.

"This agreement brings this matter to a final conclusion for our clients, and we appreciate the professionalism displayed by the Pennsylvania State Police and the Office of Attorney General in reaching a settlement that allowed our clients to select the wines from the collection to be returned to them. We consider our participation in this matter fully resolved."