The best way to protect your expensive wine?
Within a fortress. An actual fortress. One that repelled Nazis.
Let us explain. A European company recently announced it’s converting miles of World War II-excavated tunnels within the Rock of Gibraltar into private, military-secure vaults. Gibraltar Wine Vaults (from their website: “Our story begins during the Jurassic period, 200 million years ago...”) has plans to turn 30+ miles of tunnels within the British territory’s limestone satellite into the largest natural underground wine storage facility in the world.
Turns out, the geography’s perfect for storing vino.
According to an interview with GWV’s Tracy Lee in The Guardian, the limestone mountain offers an ideal storage atmosphere: 70-80% humidity, 13-14 degrees (celsius), no light, and no vibrations. Plus, “chambers the height of cathedrals.”
Before this, Gibraltar — located on the Iberian Peninsula and a strategic fortress for the British Navy in the past — has been using some of the tunnels as a major tourist attraction, as well as for storage and parking needs. Given the territory’s unique status, wine owners will not be subject to inheritance tax or, for Europeans, “VAT liability.”
The vaults are expected to house up to 850,000 bottles, worth more than $90 million, as well as an interpretation center that discusses Gibraltar’s “historical relationship with wine.” Construction is expected to be finished in mid-2017.