Ok not really but while we are on the subject of wine and restaurants the coolest tour I have had the pleasure of being on is at Bern’s Steakhose in Tampa Florida. One of the crowning glories and most unique aspects of the legendary Bern’s Steak House in is its wine cellar reputed to have the largest private wine collection in the WORLD. Because Bern’s offers its guests the largest wine list of any restaurant in the world, an evening at the Steak House would not be complete without a tour of the famous wine cellar. It is important to remember that what is shown during the cellar tour is only a glimpse of Bern’s vast wine collection. Bern’s cellar is considered “working,” which means that there is one case of each wine in the cellar that is offered on the wine list. However, this approximate cache of 90,000 bottles, still represents only 15-20 percent of Bern’s entire stock. Nearly 80 percent of the restaurant’s wine is stored in warehouses located off-site.
The cellar is arranged like a library with it’s own Dewey Decimal system, but no wines are arranged according to origin or type. For example, there is no “French” or “German” section of the cellar all wines are assigned numbers via computer as they arrive. These numbers correspond to sections in the working cellar and the warehouse. In the cellar, each number holds approximately a case of wine and the numbers are in numerical order beginning with one in the front of the cellar and ending with number 10,000 in the rear.
No cellar in the United States has a better collection of Madeira than Bern’s, with bottles that range from as early as 1795 through the mid-20th century nearly all available by the glass.
In the middle of the cellar is the “rare” room. This is where wines from the 19th and early- to mid-20th century are stored. Because the temperature and humidity in the cellar are destructive to paper, the rare wines are wrapped in plastic bags to prevent damage to their labels.The oldest wine in the cellar is a 1792 Madeira, and the most valuable wine is an 1851 Gruaud Larose, which is $10,000 a bottle. In the rare room, many vintages from the early 1970s and ’80s are kept as well as some limited edition and rare magnums.
Max from Photoidentities and I, holding one of the 90,000 plus bottles of wine stored in the cellar of the restaurant. I’m dreaming of drinking this 93 Bonnes Mares….actually what I’m doing is praying I don’t drop the dam bottle 🙂