The ‘Louvre of Wine’ Will Charge Visitors $600 to Behold Its Bottles
Michel-Jack Chasseuil, one of the world’s most renowned wine collectors, is opening a museum.
Writing for Food & Wine, I feel compelled to have a wine cellar—and if you visit my house, you’re guaranteed to see it… whether you want to or not… free of charge (otherwise people would stop coming over). But my pride in my humble collection is nothing compared to Michel-Jack Chasseuil, a 79-year-old Frenchman who’s built a cellar under his house that he’s billing as the “Louvre of wine.” And viewing it will reportedly set you back a mere $600 per visit—not including tastings, of course.
As eccentric as Chasseuil’s plan sounds, he’s certainly no slouch in the wine world. His approximately 50,000 bottle collection is regarded as one of the best in the world, even leading him to pen the book 100 Vintage Treasures: From the World’s Finest Wine Cellar. Does he own the most expensive bottle of wine in the world? Well, he doesn’t have that exact bottle, but he has a Romanee-Conti from the same vintage.
So, yes, his forthcoming wine museum certainly sounds impressive: According to The Drinks Business, it was funded by selling over half a million dollars’ worth of bottles, a small price to pay for a collection that The Times says Chasseuil was once offered over $60 million for—and is likely worth far more. The resulting 3,700-square-foot cellar under his home in La Chapelle-Bâton—as well as a lobby, café, and tasting room—were all reportedly built last year, and now he’s finally hoping to open this summer.
But will people really spend $600 a pop just to look at wine? It may be telling that, despite years of efforts to display his collection somewhere more prestigious (like in Paris, the home of the actual Louvre) he ended up building the museum on his own property because he apparently didn’t receive enough interest anywhere else.
Still, Chasseuil apparently thinks that not only will his museum be a success; it will put his entire town in western France on the map. “It’s a heritage that must be preserved,” he told The Times. “When these wines can no longer be drunk, they will simply become works of art.”
Either that or people are paying $600 to see bottles of vinegar. Either way, it will certainly be a one-of-a-kind experience.
By Mike Pomranz
photo: Michel-Jack Chasseuil, collector of rare wines, poses with a magnum of Chateau Petrus, on January 9, 2012, in the cellar of his house in La Chapelle-Bâton, western France. / CREDIT: AFP / STRINGER/GETTY IMAGES