It’s only a two hours drive from London. There, in an old limestone mine below the hills of Wiltshire, thirty-five meters underground, you’ll find a true wine lovers paradise. Octavian’s Corsham Cellars, also known as the Fort Knox of the wine, houses the world’s most valuable wines. Wooden cases full of mind blowing expensive bottles are stacked high: a 1996 Château Latour here, a 2008 Château Lafite Rothschild there. Somewhere else you’ll come across cases with bottles dating from 1775 to 1800. The highly secure conditions guarantee safe storage of the fluid gold. Value of these seven million bottles: more than €1 billion euros.
In ancient times this mine produced the characteristic stones for the cottages of nearby Bath. Many years later the Ministry of Defence used the completely bombproof location for storage of munition. Nowadays superrich collectors have their own, high profile wine locker. Twenty-two football fields wide and only accessible by a narrow staircase counting 157 steps, the bank of wine is employing nearly 100 people.
The bottles enter the fine wines heaven by a little train. The Margaux and Châteaux Lafites, Pétrus and Latours lay here snoozing without any natural light, in a spot without any vibration and in constant fresh air. Every hour, humidity is controlled, hovering around eighty percent at a constant temperature of thirteen degrees.
Mining for wine
If they like, the customers – among them Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber and Sir Alex Ferguson – can visit their babies down in the wine mine. But that takes time. They have to walk down the steps, carrying an emergency underground escape kit if they dare to go further down. If they don’t fancy mining for wine, there are three photographic studios underground, high-quality pictures of the wine can be taken for the customers. For a special occasion, customers can ask any time for a crate or even single bottle to be sent to clients or friends. If such a present doesn’t impress, nothing will.