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Caribbean-On-Line » Caribbean Travel Advisor » Bahamas » Gargantuan wine cellar found in The Bahamas

Gargantuan wine cellar found in The Bahamas

graycliff-wine-cellar-.jpgThe Graycliff Hotel in Nassau, built in the 1740's, has some secrets buried in its basement. Although the Graycliff is currently a hotel and renowned restaurant, part of the original cellar in this 260 year old house was used as a garrison or jail in times past. It's usage now is for storage of their vast collection of wine.

Descending a flight of well-worn wooden stairs leading down to the basement, wine steward Denero Griffin pulled out his coveted cellar key to open an unprepossessing doorway that leads to a subterranean world, filled to the rafters with wine bottles. Keep your head down - watching for low beams is an occupational hazard here. The 6,000 square foot maze of small rooms and passageways is piled high with unopened cases and bottles big and small. The collection, valued at 20 million dollars, holds more than 275,000 bottles, incredibly, the third largest wine cellar in the world.

Although the wine list at 127 pages is predominantly French, Denero knew what I wanted to see - their oldest bottle. Laying on a rack with a variety of other vintages we found the Rudesheimer Aposttelwein, a half bottle of German Riesling, dated 1727! And as for the most famous of French wines - Chateau D'Yquem - it is available for most years from the 1875 vintage on to the present.

The wine cellar can be visited in conjunction with the featured, 'Wine Luncheon' served Monday through Friday for a maximum of 12 patrons. It includes a tour of the cellar and a four course meal paired with champagne, red and white vintages, as well as a dessert wine. Currently the cost is $60 a person, which is slated to increase soon. For an unforgettable experience, small groups can have the opportunity to be served in the cellar dining room, surrounded by bottles stacked to the ceiling. Pre-booking is a must. Check the web for more information about the hotel and restaurant.

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