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March 28, 2023updated Mar 29, 2023

Veuve Clicquot Unveils Exclusive Cellar in the Sea Experience

The Champagne house is giving guests a rare opportunity to visit its Åland Vault in the Baltic Sea.

By Irenie Forshaw

In 2010, a team of divers discovered a haul of pristinely preserved champagne bottles in a shipwreck at the bottom of the Baltic Sea. Four years later, Veuve Clicquot launched its daring Cellar in the Sea experiment to replicate these conditions, placing a collection of bottles into its Åland Vault underwater wine cellar. The aim? To gain a clearer understanding of the champagne aging process in an environment where the precious vintages were protected from any damaging heat or light.

Now, for the first time, Veuve Clicquot is giving guests a rare opportunity to visit the Åland Vault as part of a truly unforgettable voyage between Champagne and the Åland Islands this June.

Nearly 50 bottles of Veuve Clicquot were among the treasures discovered in the shipwreck back in 2010, which lay untouched for almost two centuries. During a tasting that same year, the Champagne house was amazed to find its wines were largely unscathed thanks to the optimal conditions; the pressure level, absence of light and low temperatures made the ocean floor a perfect cellar.

[See also: The Best Champagne Brands to Try This Year]

Veuve Clicquot Cellar in the Sea
The Champagne house used a sea crane to submerge 300 bottles and 50 magnums to the underwater cellar / ©Veuve Clicquot

And so Veuve Clicquot embarked on an ambitious experiment, building its underwater Åland Vault close to where the shipwreck was discovered in the Åland archipelago off the coast of Finland. Here, the Champagne house used a sea crane to submerge 300 bottles and 50 magnums housed within a sturdy metal cage.

It’s been almost a decade since the collection of non-vintage Yellow Label, Vintage Rose 2004 and demi-sec wines were placed 131 feet beneath the ocean’s surface and the Champagne house is finally ready to share with guests a first-hand look at its underwater vault.

Running 22-25 June 2023, Veuve Cliquot’s three-night Cellar in the Sea Experience begins in Champagne where guests will be given a tour of the Maison’s vineyards before being treated to a tasting in the cellars. Following a VIP gala dinner and overnight stay at the luxurious Hotel du Marc, the group will fly to the Åland Islands for a day of sailing adventures onboard the historic Albanus schooner with gourmet meals prepared by Michelin-starred chef Filip Gemzell.

Veuve Clicquot maison
Guests will be given a tour of the Maison’s vineyards before being treated to a tasting in the cellars / ©Veuve Clicquot

The next day kicks off with sunrise fishing and breakfast in Silverskär before guests are taken to Klobben and Champagne Island to experience a tasting of bottles retrieved from the Åland Vault led by Veuve Clicquot’s chef de cave, Didier Mariotti.

Undoubtedly the most exciting part of the trip is the opportunity for experienced divers to descend to the underwater wine cellar with the diver who discovered the shipwreck back in 2010 to see where the bottles are submerged.

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The trip draws to a close with another lavish gala dinner prepared by celebrated chef Mathias Dahlgren and a final overnight stay at Hotel Silverskär. If you’re hoping to secure a place on the trip, you’ll need to move quickly; just 14 tickets have been released.

“We are thrilled to offer guests the opportunity to experience Veuve Clicquot’s 40-year experiment between Champagne and the Baltic Sea, for the first time ever. During their stay, guests will taste the bottles stored in the sea. As the Baltic Sea provides an exceptional aging environment with its low salinity and consistent temperature, the wines are sure to be exceptional,” said Jean-Marc Gallot, CEO of Veuve Clicquot.

“Guests are in for a truly once-in-a-lifetime adventurous experience in the Solaire spirit of Veuve Clicquot, beginning the trip at our Maison in Champagne all the way to the beautiful island of Silverskår, surrounded by nature and local culture and experiencing some of our finest cuvées along the way.”

The trip is available to book from Tuesday March 28 at veuveclicquot.com

[See also: Michel Drappier on Taking Risks and Going Green]

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