François Blanc had a clear vision of the wine cellar when he began construction in 1864. He wanted to create a top-class resort consisting of several different establishments under one roof. He was certainly an innovative man who found solutions to monumental construction challenges by involving some 300 different trades. The wine cellar beneath the Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo was unveiled in 1874 by the strongminded Marie Blanc, who took over the project when her husband died. Barrels come directly from the vineyards and then the wine is bottled on the premises. The storage space is quite simply stunning.
The wine cellar treasure trove
During the Second World War, hotel employees working in the wine cellar decided to seal off part of the storage space by building a wall made up of seven rows of bottles. But what lay behind this partition? 20,000 of the hotel’s most valuable bottles! The wines were hidden from the occupying forces along with the hotel’s silverware. And the trick worked, and after the war, Winston Churchill himself came to celebrate the reopening of the wine cellar. An 1811 vintage rum was opened to mark the occasion. Apparently, there are still a few bottles of that precious nectar in the cellar.
The Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo Wine Cellar has catered for many other celebrations, such as the 20th wedding anniversary of Monaco’s Prince Rainier III and Princess Grace.
Storing and sharing
From the 1960s onwards, bottling on the premises became the norm and the whole Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo Wine Cellar was used for storing the bottles. A 1929 Château Margaux, 1890 Château d’Yquem, 1945 Petrus and more: there are a number of special bottles in the “Réserve Patrimoniale” collection. And future fine wines are fermenting away in the cellar; outstanding vintages from 2001, 2005 and 2009 await their moment of glory in a range of SBM establishments in Monte Carlo.