Retired surgeon Spero Raptis has claimed his fine wine cellar lost A$300,000 of its value because of an air conditioning company's mistake.

Raptis said many of his wines ‘cooked’ after an air conditioning company left on a humidifier while doing maintenance work in his wine cellar, according to local media reports.

He has filed a complaint against the company at the Supreme Court of South Australia in Adelaide.

The contents of his wine cellar were worth around $430,000, but have lost $312,000 of their value, according to court documents cited by The Advertiser newspaper.

His case highlights the potential dangers collectors face when seeking a good place to store their wines.

Raptis’ cellar included some of the world’s most sought after wines, including Penfolds Grange and the 2004 vintage of Penfolds Bin 60A. It also included Bordeaux first growths Mouton Rothschild, Haut-Brion and Margaux, as well as Cheval Blanc and Chateau d’Yquem.

According to The Advertiser, the case was with the insurers and was due to return to court in October this year.

Regulating humidity levels can help wine to age for longer. If humidity is too low then there is a danger that corks will dry out.

But, in the reported case of Raptis, the problem was the opposite. Humidity and temperature levels became too high, with reports that water could be seen leaking out from the cellar.

  • Andres Martinez

    I can’t imagine the wine was ruined or as the surgeon said “cooked” by excessive humidity unless a mold problem occurred or the labels became stained therefore diminishing the estetic appeal of the bottle. If the bottles had been submerged in water, he might have a case. When a wine is “cooked”, it refers to excessive heat in a cellar for an extended period of time. Either the story is not accurate or this retired surgeon is full of crap.