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1735 Shipwreck Wine for Sale

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Rare wines salvaged from a shipwreck will be on offer at upcoming auction.


 Bottles of wine recovered from a ship that sank off the coast of Holland in 1735 will go under the hammer on May 3rd.

Belgium auction house Veiling Sylvies is offering six bottles of the eighteenth century wine that was on board the ill-fated Vliegend Hert.  The wines will be sold in lots of two and each pair is estimated to fetch between 2,000 and 4,000 euros.

The bottles still contain the original wine, which was thought to have been produced in Germany’s Mosel Valley, and was destined for modern-day Indonesia.

“We think that the wine had been reduced by evaporating some of the liquid.  The moment the bottles arrived at their final destination – the high ranking gentleman in Batavia, or nowadays Jakarta – would have added water to get the ‘original’ product back,” auction house director, Joris Scott, told Wine Searcher.

The ship sunk with 256 crew and passengers on February 3rd 1735, just four hours after departing from Holland.  The wreck was finally discovered in 1980 and its contents, including thousands of gold and silver coins were salvaged.

Several hundred bottled were recovered but most were broken.  The intact bottles have since been given a new seal to protect its contents.  According to Scott, only a few bottles are owned privately.  The majority of intact bottles are on display in museums, including a collection at the maritime museum in the Dutch town of Vlissingen.

Scott had the opportunity to taste the wine, which was salvaged from some of the cracked bottles and subsequently stored in a jar.  “It was a difficult task to find anything else then a buttery smell and a very oxidised wine – it did taste like wine – secondary acids and bitter notes”, he said.

The individual selling the three lots is a collector of antiques and rarities.  Scott added: “They have a huge wine-collection in a near-perfect cellar in a 19th century house.  They probably have one of the most extensive 19th century Madeira collections as well.”

Source: Rebecca Gibbs
Wine Searcher
18th April 2013

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