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French drop tradition for private wine storage, says cellar owner

Owners of a new private cellar near Paris say growing numbers of French collectors are looking for professional wine storage to protect the value of their most precious bottles.

It has been a widely held view in the wine trade that most French collectors would rather keep their fine wines close at hand than pay for professional storage – unlike many of their counterparts in the UK.

One of the most extreme examples is Michel-Jack Chasseuil, whose 40,000 bottle cellar built within his own home contains a treasure trove of French wine.

But, a new generation of private cellar operators say higher fine wine prices and the physical confines of urban living mean more French people are considering professional wine storage.

‘Correct storage has become something that even normal wine lovers think about,’ said Guillaume de la Porte, co-founder of Les Chais de France, a temperature controlled, secure storage space that opened in January this year in vast underground cellars on the outskirts of Paris.

‘It’s a further insurance policy to safeguard wine over the long term,’ he told Jane Anson for her latest Anson on Thursday column, to be published tomorrow (30 July). ‘This method of storage is becoming the norm, and we are lucky to be right at the epicentre of its natural home in Paris.’

De la Porte said the business expects to have 700 square metres of storage space by the end of 2015.

Other businesses have also made use of the cellar space at Issy Les Moulineaux, south of Paris. Andrew Amiach, founder of iCave, told French media in May that he saw an opportunity to help young people find somewhere to store their wines.

‘I went abroad to study and I thought: what should I do with my cellar? I didn’t own an apartment. So I decided to start a service for people like me,’ he told BFM Business channel, explaining his rationale.

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