The Phuket News Premier League predictions The Phuket News Kata Rocks The Phuket News Outrigger Koh Samui Beach Resort
The Phuket News World News
The Phuket News Phuket | Thailand | World | Business | Q&A | Weird World XML, RSS, Feed
The Phuket News The Phuket News
The Phuket News

Lurking in an old war bunker

In high-rise, high-priced Hong Kong, even millionaires don’t always have room to store their fine wine collection at home, but a converted British war bunker offers space-crunched oenophiles the perfect solution.


AFP

Saturday 6 August 2016, 03:10PM


A security guard walks near one of the entrances to the Crown Wine Cellars. Photo: Dale De La Rey/AFP
A security guard walks near one of the entrances to the Crown Wine Cellars. Photo: Dale De La Rey/AFP

Built by Her Majesty’s government in the 1930s to hold munitions, the “Little Hong Kong” bunker complex was the last Allied position to fall to the invading Japanese on December 27, 1941 – two days after the surrender of the British governor.

Collectors may rest assured that this spirit endures, says Gregory De’ Eb company principal of Crown Wine Cellars.

“We have great feng shui here. Nobody died, last place to surrender – it was all good!” he explains.

The firm has converted the sprawling complex into state of the art wine storage. Six of the Central Ordnance Munitions Depot bunkers – each spanning some 1,000 square feet – have been painstakingly transformed into what he describes as “the Rolls-Royce of wine cellars.”

Carved out of Hong Kong’s hills, protected by reinforced concrete and soil, the complex – whose sensitive restoration even received a nod from Unesco – offers one of the most secure environments possible for wine.

“If you give us one bottle of 1982 [brand removed] that your grandfather gave to you (with) his signature on the top left hand corner, we make absolutely sure that your bottle will never be interchanged with any other,” said De’ Eb, a former diplomat.

“In 50 years’ time we will give that bottle back to you. It’s so important,” he added.

De’ Eb says the wine vaults were built in accordance to the US standard for gold bullion, while overall security at the bunkers drew inspiration from methods employed by the diamond industry in his native South Africa.

Staff must wear wetsuits when entering the cellars – an anti-theft measure to ensure nothing can be smuggled out in clothing, and some vaults require three people to simultaneously input codes in order to access them.

Clients are not allowed to enter the main storage warehouses, but can request to view their collection in small rooms, where they will be closely monitored by security cameras.

Such measures are not just for show: the cellar holds two of the world’s most expensive bottles ever sold at auction – a bottle that went under the hammer in 2010 at Sotheby’s Hong Kong, fetching US$232,692 (B1,071,517) apiece.

Thanks to Hong Kong’s incredible concentrations of wealth, the city has become a world capital for fine wine.

The city hosts Vinexpo, Asia’s largest wine and spirits fair, and has become a major hub for fine wine sales across Asia, thanks in part to a government decision in 2008 to drop import duties on wine.

Imports have grown exponentially – to $1.5 billion in 2015, up from $206 million in 2007 according to Hong Kong Trade Development Council figures.

C and C Marine

The city is a key gateway to the vast, lucrative Chinese market, but of the 63.3 million litres of wine that was imported into Hong Kong in 2015, just 27.2 million was re-exported – highlighting the city’s own love affair with grapes.

Astronomical real estate prices coupled with Hong Kong’s hot and humid environment, mean that “wine storage really is a growing business,” said Korean wine expert Jeannie Cho Lee.

“It’s not like in France where everyone has a basement under their house,” said wine importer Alex Yim.

“In Hong Kong, you even need to find a place to store your clothes,” he added, referring to the city’s notoriously small but expensive apartments, which often lack basic storage space.

The government has sought to encourage the nascent local wine storage industry, creating the world’s first Wine Storage Management Systems Certification Scheme in 2009.

By the end of 2015, 37 Hong Kong companies had been certified, giving wine-lovers many options.

They could trust their entire collection to Crown, which has 2,000 customers including major auction houses like Sotheby’s, and manages “more than three billion Hong Kong dollars,” worth of wine, De’ Eb said.

The company is an arm of Crown Worldwide, which also has relocation, record management and fine art divisions.

Or they could turn to companies like Wine Vault, which started in 2008 and has converted disused industrial space into individual climate-controlled wine storage rooms.

The firm’s cellars are between 40 and 80 square feet in size, and users can access their wine collection whenever they want, thanks to facial recognition software.

The rooms off the long corridor in the bland industrial complex are now packed with cases and bottles of the world’s best vintages.

“In order to mimic the environment of underground cellars in Bordeaux or other wine regions we keep the temperature around… 13-14 degrees [Celsius],” said Hubert Li, a partner at the Wine Vault.

“All of our 550 clients are private collectors,” he said, adding that sometimes clients send their drivers to collect a few more bottles to top up their smaller wine stores at home.

 

 

The Phuket News
The Phuket News
Comment on this story
* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.
Comments Here:
Username:
Password:
E-mail:
Security:
    Forget your password?

Be the first to comment.

The Phuket News
The Phuket News The Phuket News The Phuket News
The Phuket News
Share this
The Phuket News
Have a news tip-off? Click here
The Phuket News
Related stories
The Phuket News
Phuket community

Recent Comments


Phuket environment chief warns of poor hazardous waste disposal habits

Phuket/Thailand cannot manage it's regular waste, let alone identifying, collecting, separating and properly disposing of hazardous wastes. I wou...(Read More)


Phuket Governor says Japanese tourist bitten by barracuda not a shark

Oh brother...more stellar non-professional commentary from Phuket officials. I love the "police-type" hypothesis Mr Thatsaphol came up with....(Read More)


Phuket ‘bite’ frenzy spurs call for more protection against shark fishing

There is no enforcement for the protection of any marine life in Thai waters, it's a free for all unless you're a Korean tourist feeding bread...(Read More)


Phuket ‘bite’ frenzy spurs call for more protection against shark fishing

As a world wide diving scuba diver I can say by own experience that sharks always shy away when you 'meet' them. 'Incidents' with sha...(Read More)


City to reward people who dob in street offenders

It doesn't need to be a 'typical idiot' ( Jor12 words) to want to see police on every street corner. I often see police officers ( always...(Read More)


City to reward people who dob in street offenders

Jor 12, i guess you think lawlessness is a good idea then? Eagle, don't think it doesn't do you any good, you have no idea what i earn! 3 d...(Read More)


Phuket environment chief warns of poor hazardous waste disposal habits

Christy Sweet: You are right. It are all statements and dead end policy announcement, to justify a job, and a photo article in newspaper. Any given...(Read More)


City to reward people who dob in street offenders

malczx7r,as you are so eager to adopt it for Phuket,one might think you need it to increase your income !...(Read More)


Governor bans unsafe tour buses from Phuket, orders speed cameras for Patong Hill safety

Rorii2,I'm not surprised that you failed to understand.It was only an advice!...(Read More)


Governor bans unsafe tour buses from Phuket, orders speed cameras for Patong Hill safety

Eagle, historical facts make predicting the future easier, we all know not all predictions eventuate, but many in Thailand do, I fail to understand yo...(Read More)

The Phuket News
Bangkok Hospital Phuket
PHUKET NEWS
Phuket
Thailand
World
Business
Q A
Weird World
ARCHIVE
POLL
CURRENCY
WEATHER
PHUKET TIDE TABLE
The Phuket News PHUKET LIFE
Phuket Arts
Phuket Community
Phuket Culture
Phuket Dining
Phuket Education
Phuket Entertainment
Phuket Environment
Phuket Health
Phuket People
Phuket Technology
Phuket Travel
Photo Galleries
COLOURING BOOK
The Phuket News PHUKET SPORT
Phuket
Thailand
World
SURF REPORT
PREDICTIONS
The Phuket News PHUKET CLASSIFIEDS
Phuket Buy and Sell
Phuket Jobs
Phuket Property
Phuket Cars and Boats
Phuket Community
Phuket Services
SEARCH CLASSIFIEDS
POST CLASSIFIED
The Phuket News The Phuket News PHUKET EVENTS
Phuket Event listings
Phuket Event calendar
Buy Tickets
POST EVENT
The Phuket News PHUKET DIRECTORY
Phuket Bars, pubs and clubs
Phuket Hotels and villas
Phuket Restaurants
Phuket Yellow Pages
POST LISTING
The Phuket News BARGAINS
The Phuket News ABOUT US
The Company
Distribution points
Subscribe
Advertise with us
Pay for advert
Contact us
CONTESTS
Content Google Map
Site map
Australian Visa Services
 
Currency - The Phuket News   Weather Report - The Phuket News   Surf Report - The Phuket News
LinkedIn - The Phuket News   Twitter - The Phuket News   YouTube - The Phuket News   Facebook - The Phuket News
Copyright © 2017 Class Act Media. All rights reserved. | Website usage terms and conditions | Privacy and Confidentiality Statement.