17th Century Shipwrecked Wine Goes Under The Hammer

A shipwreck off the German coast was discovered in 2010 and fourteen bottles of wine were recovered in a rattan basket that was buried in the mud some 40 metres down. Two of the bottles were offered at a London sale in June with an estimate of £26,000-£30,000 apiece.

Once upon a time these bottles contained red wine, but it is not recommended that the new owner tries drinking them now. Given the shape of the bottle and through an examination of the cork, researchers concluded that the wine had been bottled somewhere between 1670 and 1690. Professor Gougeon from the University of Burgundy in Dijon led the research and wrote in March of 2016: “Our latest results obtained in Dijon confirm the liquid to be a grape based beverage due to the presence of tartaric acid. Phenolic analysis confirmed a typical old wine signature rich in tannin degradation products and together with the presence of resveratrol enables us to tell it was a strong red wine. Interestingly, besides small aliphatic acids such as lactic and acetic acid, the wine still contained some amounts of ethanol. Our historian colleague confirmed to me from the chemical analysis of the glass and especially from the shape of the corked flask that the dating precisely would correspond to a period from late XVIIth century.”


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