Restorations at Greek royal family’s Tatoi Palace have unearthed a royal wine cellar filled with rare alcoholic beverages, the Ministry of Culture announced on Sunday.
The wines that have been discovered in the space are now priceless — many bear original labels and are considered historically significant.
Tatoi’s royal Greek cellar unearthed
Works at the well-known Tatoi Palace are being undertaken by the Ministry of Culture, and it is certain that even more treasures will continue to reveal themselves in the former royal hideaway as works continue.
Archaeologists at the Greek royal wine cellar found more than 4,000 bottles of wine and other alcohol beverages in 235 cases. Most of these bottles bear some form of significance, with many sporting unique or artistic labels. The restorers even discovered some cans of soft drink which date back to before these types of products were imported into Greece at all.
The ministry has shared with the public that there are another 300 cases of bottles that have not been opened yet. This means that there is likely treasure in the Tatoi Palace wine cellar that has yet to be discovered.
Among the rare wines found in the collection are bottles of Château Margaux, Château de Vincennes and Château Rothschild, a special edition of Chivas whisky in a ceramic bottle, produced to mark the enthronement of Queen Elizabeth II in Britain, and a collection of bottles bearing the label of the estate.
Care required for Tatoi Palace’s wine treasure
Some of the beverages which have been unearthed and are being catalogued have been deemed still fit for consumption, despite being kept in fairly bad conditions.
The Ministry of Culture has called in additional assistance in restoring the Tatoi Palace wine cellar, as there is a lot of specialist knowledge required in order to care for the alcoholic beverages correctly.
The Achaia Claus winery has chosen to work pro bono for the restorations, acting as special consultant for the wine cellar. The winery signed a memorandum of cooperation with the Ministry of Culture verifying that it is providing these services. The head of the company’s historical archive, Periklis Baltas, is at the helm of the work it is doing with the ministry.
The winery has a historical archive due to its status as Greece’s first winery. It was established in 1861 and has operated continuously since.
In addition to being a modern winery, it also runs a wine-making museum and has specialized staff that have undertaken to evaluate the bottles found on the Tatoi estate and to group them based on their rarity and condition, selecting only those suitable for putting on display.
The Minister of Culture, Lina Mendoni, noted on Sunday, “The Tatoi wine and spirits collection, in addition to its significant collector value, is also of great scientific and research interest. The restoration work to showcase the former royal estate is complex and requires specialist knowledge of many and varied areas.
“For the evaluation of the wine collection we are working with specialist scientists who have know-how, both on an oenological level and for its historic validation. Our goal is that, upon completion of the restoration work and the transition of the palace building into a museum, the part of the collection that has been evaluated as fit for display should find its place in the existing space of the palace cellars. The Tatoi wine cellar’s over 50 year old collection, which is of exceptional cultural and oenological value, will be open to the public.”