Gibraltar War Tunnels To Become Massive Wine Cellar

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Work will start soon on converting underground tunnels in Gibraltar to a £60m investment wine cellar. Image shows CGI of what the new facility will look like.

Gibraltar War Tunnels To Become Massive Wine Cellar

Some 32 miles of tunnels built before Second World War to store £60 million worth of vintage wine

A warren of military tunnels inside the Rock of Gibraltar is to be converted into the world’s largest natural storage facility for investment-grade wines.

Some 32 miles of tunnels and caverns carved into the Rock by Royal Engineers shortly before the Second World War in the event of an attack on Gibraltar have been lying empty and obsolete for decades.

Work will start soon on converting underground tunnels in Gibraltar to a £60m investment wine cellar. Image shows location of the new facility.
Work will start soon on converting underground tunnels in Gibraltar to a £60m investment wine cellar. Image shows location of the new facility.

The Ministry of Defence has since handed ownership to local authorities, who have been exploring new uses for the space.

Scientific testing of the limestone hulk has now revealed the perfect natural conditions for wine storage, due to the tunnels’ 70-80 per cent humidity levels and constant temperature of between 13 and 14 degrees Celsius.

The privately owned scheme’s backers hope that the continued nearby presence of British forces will also help to reassure investors of their wine’s security.

Around £6 million will be spent reconditioning the tunnels. The Gibraltar government said around £60 million worth of vintage wine will be stored in the facility once the first phase of the project is completed in mid-2017.

Tracey Lee, the British CEO and founder of Gibraltar Wine Vaults, said she first approached the territory’s government with the idea 18 months ago.

“I knew the tunnels and chambers because my father had access as a Navy man,” Ms Lee said. “You can just feel the humidity inside.”

“There are custom-designed warehouses for this kind of product, but people prefer natural conditions”, said Ms Lee.

Ms Lee said that Gibraltar’s low-tax financial environment would also prove a draw to high-flying wine merchants, while the size of the tunnels meant there was unparalleled capacity to expand.

“Because of the limitless scalability of the site, it is perfect for customers who want to expand their collection all in one place”.

Work will start soon on converting underground tunnels in Gibraltar to a £60m investment wine cellar. Image shows CGI of what the new facility will look like.
Work will start soon on converting underground tunnels in Gibraltar to a £60m investment wine cellar. Image shows CGI of what the new facility will look like.

The local government said the project was “a new area of economic activity for Gibraltar”.

Gibraltar, which is restyling itself as a business and tourism destination, is also constructing a new £1.1 billion marina, and recently opened the University of Gibraltar.

Sourced from Daily Telegraph By James Badcock, Madrid

Photos from Daily Telegraph

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