Bern’s Steakhouse is an opulent Tampa, Fl. institution that boasts of having the “world’s largest wine cellar.” Business Insider visited Bern’s last week wine steward Chris Lewis gave us a tour of the facilities where the restaurant claims to store over 600,000 bottles of vino.
On the way into the wine cellar there are shelves for wine that’s available by the glass.
There are separate storage areas for the reds, whites, and Madeiras that are sold by the glass. Lewis showed off this Madeira from 1839.
Lewis said the aisles in the cellar at the restaurant are “set up like your local library” and numbered from one to 10,000. The entire collection has never been catalogued and staffers sometimes find surprises in the stacks.
According to Lewis, there are about 100,000 bottles in the cellar at the restaurant and another 500,000 in this building next door. Louis described the collection as “about a 70-30 split” between red and white wines. He said there are more reds since they are more commonly paired with steak.
This is the locked “rare room” where Bern’s keeps its priciest bottles individually wrapped in plastic. “There are a lot of last bottles on Earth in this room,” Lewis said. “The oldest in this room is an 1815 Port.”
Lewis went into the “rare room” to get us a picture of what he said were the two most expensive bottles “by far” — a $US15,000 2007 magnum of Romanée Conti and a $US30,000 1947 double magnum of Chateau Latour that was found in the cellar in 2010.
The champagne shelves are kept a few degrees cooler than the rest of the cellar.
Since Tampa is on the water and isn’t elevated, the cellar at Bern’s is at the street level. Because of this, the walls are covered with insulation made from newspaper to keep the temperature controlled.
Here’s Lewis showing off the wine list, which, as you can see, is quite extensive. An abridged copy sits on each table.
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