The Private Wine Cellars of London
The Independent has a fun feature on Britain's hidden wine cellars. Not only does the government keep a private stash of 40,000 bottles but other private cellars offer rare treats. The monarchy and the government, of course have large cellars for state dinners and other grand affairs. London's clubs including the Garrick and the Carlton also have renowned cellars. Other places to find rare wines including banks and city houses, the Oxbridge colleges,some Army regiments, some professional institutions, and the city livery companies. With the leisurely, boozy lunch on the wane, stockbrokers are not doing as much buying as they used to. The Bank of England's cellar contains about 2,800 bottles and the really big cellars are kept by the 12 original livery companies of the City of London and the Oxbridge colleges. In the article, Warren Benbow, assistant clerk at the Goldsmiths, says they have 18 bottles of Madeira dating from 1835 (so rare as to be considered priceless) and a collection of ports, some of which date back to 1948. Some of the Oxbridge colleges sell surplus wine to raise funds which might be your only chance to get your hands on some of the rare vintages.