An Olympic-Size Cellar Stash: Wine Hoard Discovered at Greek Palace

Top-shelf Bordeaux, Champagne, royal Scotch whisky and other regal sips were discovered at Tatoi Palace, the Greek royal family’s former summer home

An Olympic-Size Cellar Stash: Wine Hoard Discovered at Greek Palace
Tatoi Palace, once a playground for the Greek royal family, is being converted into a museum following years of neglect. (Europa Press via Getty Images)
Aug 27, 2021

It’s a cellar fit for a king. A Greek king, to be specific. In July, Greece’s Ministry of Culture and Sports announced that thousands of wines and spirits had been discovered at Tatoi Palace, once the Greek royal family’s summer home near Athens (Greece’s government took over the estate in the 1990s). “The Tatoi wine cellar, apart from its significant collectible value, has extremely great interest for science and research,” said Greek Minister of Culture and Sports Lina Mendoni in a statement.

Unsurprisingly for a regal family (one that included late grapegrower Prince Philip), the royals were sipping some stellar wines and spirits. Bottles of Château Margaux and Louis Roederer Champagne Cristal have been discovered, plus a ceramic bottle of Chivas’ very on-theme Royal Salute Scotch, which was released in 1953 to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation in the U.K. Reds and whites made from Tatoi’s estate vines were also found, along with cans of soft drinks—rare sips in their time, according to the Ministry of Culture, as they hadn’t been imported into Greece several decades ago.

 Bottle of Chivas Royal Salute whisky found at Greece's Tatoi Palace
A bottle of 1953 Chivas Royal Salute whisky was among the treasures recently discovered at Greece's Tatoi Palace. (Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports)

About 4,000 bottles have been archived so far, and there are 300 boxes left to examine. Greece’s Directorate for the Preservation of Ancient and Modern Monuments is working with scientists specializing in enology and historical documents to analyze the collection, which is believed to be more than 50 years old. A team from Greek winery Achaia Clauss is also pitching in to assess the stash, led by the winery’s head archivist, Periklis Baltas.

 Bottles of wine and spirits discovered at Tatoi Palace, Greece's former royal residence
Noteworthy bottles from the Tatoi trove are tagged and sorted. (Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports)

In recent years, the Ministry of Culture has been working to convert Tatoi Palace into a museum, and it plans to display portions of the cellar once finished. Unfortunately, much of the hoard has been stored in less-than-ideal conditions, but some of the wines are still suitable to taste. Hopefully someone hid wineglasses in the palace too …


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