THE inside of the Rock of Gibraltar is set to be transformed into an innovative cellar for over £60 million worth of wine.
The state-of-the-art storage facility will make use of the natural limestone to create a perfect environment for investment grade wine.
Gibraltar Wine Vaults will be located in the miles of tunnels created by Royal Engineers before the Second World War, and will be protected by the highest level of security.
The £6 million conversion of an old WT Station, opposite Beach View Terraces, will be carried out in phases.
The station’s use during the war was primarily to facilitate crucial wireless connections both internally with other signal stations in Gibraltar and also externally with Allied ships in the Straits and Navy installations in the UK.
The project is being carried out with the help of the Heritage Trust and local historians, and will feature an interpretation centre.
It is hoped the facility will attract interest from the wine tourism industry and boost Gibraltar’s economy.
Tracy Lee, CEO and founder of Gibraltar Wine Vaults said: “These are exciting times in the global wine storage sector with Gibraltar destined to be the hub of Western wine.
“Ideally positioned at the gateway of both the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, Gibraltar Wine Vaults is also able to offer competitive pricing, no Capital Gains Tax, no Inheritance Tax or VAT liability as well as superlative wine storage facilities.”
Deputy Chief Minister Dr Joseph Garcia, who has led the detailed negotiations with the investors in his capacity as Minister for Lands, said: “It is well known that there is an extensive network of tunnels and vaults inside Gibraltar. These were dedicated almost entirely for military use and were owned by the Ministry of Defence.
“A large part of that tunnel network has been handed over by the MOD to the Government of Gibraltar over the years and this has led to different uses for different parts of the complex. Some vaults, for example, have been developed and used for storage and others have been used for car parking.
“The Government welcomes the project to convert part of that network into a facility for wine storage as this represents a new area of economic activity for Gibraltar. It is entirely a private sector commercial project.
“This is a great example of our commitment to the preservation, promotion and sustainable management of Gibraltar’s heritage, working in tandem with local entrepreneurialism to promote a sound business operating on a global stage,” he added.