The Rock of Gibraltar, a rocky promontory in the small British territory of Gibraltar off the southern tip of Spain, is a very unique location. One of the most intriguing attractions in the area are the over 30 miles of caves and tunnels that are located beneath; these passageways were dug out during the Second World War in order to be a sort of bunker or protection in case Gibraltar was under attack at any point. They were never used and have remained abandoned to this day, never having seen any practical application - at least, until now.
Formerly owned by the British Ministry of Defense, the area's tunnel system is now under the control of a local government which has done extensive scientific tests in order to determine what exactly to do with the underground caves. After a number of months of testing and analyzing the tunnels and caverns, they have decided that there is one use for the system that could end up being incredibly profitable for the area - the conditions are absolutely perfect for storing away wine to age and could keep the spirits in prime condition with minimal manmade aides. The humidity hovers around 75 percent and the temperature holds steady at around 59°F; optimal for vintage wines of all sorts.
Why Gibraltar for Wine Storage?
Gibraltar has actually been trying to shift its focus from being a historical town into being a bustling tourist spot. For several years, local leaders and authorities have been looking for ways to get more people to come to the area and enjoy it, thereby bolstering the economy and creating a sustainable source of regional income. Having a collection of all of the best wines and having spaces for people to store their own huge collections would be a big draw and could, prospectively, put Gibraltar on the map as a desirable destination for sophisticated travelers.
This planning follows in line with similar efforts to attract wealthy new residents and travelers to the region. Thanks to its unique status as a semi-autonomous British territory, Gibraltar has uncommonly low tax rates that make it a potential haven for investors and wealth management companies. It has been touted as an optimal place for hedge fund managers and well-to-do Britons that might seek refuge from high taxes on the British mainland, all in an attempt to redefine the region's appeal. The establishment of an intrepid new place to store fine wines fits in perfectly with this target demographic, and it seems the only necessary effort for Gibraltar moving forward is to tailor the caverns for their new purpose.
Transforming the Rock of Gibraltar Tunnels
What needs to happen for the idea to become reality? Mainly, the tunnels need to be put into the best shape possible. Reconditioning efforts are slated to start this year and contractors hope to have them completed within 18 months or so, with a planned completion date sometime in 2017. Once the tunnels are ready to go after their several million-dollar restoration, the government will begin to accrue wines to be stored there. Tens of millions of dollars worth of wine will prospectively grace the dark tunnels and the completed project will undoubtedly attract a lot of attention to the area.
There is little speculation as to whether or not people will want to store their wines in the Gibraltar tunnels because it's been shown that natural wine cellars are far superior to manmade ones. They help to make the inherent flavors last longer and they aren't susceptible to some of the issues that may come up with cellars that are dependent upon electricity to maintain consistent temperature and humidity levels.
Would you visit Gibraltar to check out these mass inventories of high quality vintage wine? Do you think it's a good idea to change this historical site into something that is used in another, more unique manner?
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