Cache of champagne in Baltic Sea is larger than believed
The 70 bottles found near the Åland Islands include various brands and grades
The number of champagne bottles found around mid-July aboard a sunken ship near the Åland Islands in the Baltic Sea is larger than initially believed.
Divers exploring the shipwreck have established that there are about 70 bottles of champagne scattered among the wreckage. The cache includes a variety of brands and quality grades.
The information about the shipwreck has also been clarified. Apparently the ship is a galeas, a type of trading vessel common in the Baltic Sea and North Sea from the 17th to the early 20th centuries, and it ran aground between 1800 and 1830.
Around two weeks ago, a diver picked up a bottle of centuries-old champagne from the shipwreck. The bubbly drink is plausibly the world’s oldest drinkable champagne.
Since then numerous dives have been made into the wreckage. Even some other kind of objects have been raised to the surface.
”We have surfaced a jug filled with olive oil, two octants, and three porcelain plates”, reported marine archaeologist Marcus Lindholm from the Åland Board of Antiquities.
The champagne bottles scattered on the seabed have not been touched, as they are lying below the deck and the shipwreck is extremely fragile.
The name of the vessel has not been identified, as its rear thwart has gone missing.
No remains of the crew have been discovered in the wreckage, but there are many utility articles, seamen’s items, and well preserved navigation instruments.
When exploring the shipwreck, the divers have been wearing diving costumes designed for military diving, as they do not cause air bubbles.
Such bubbles could damage fragile wood.
”Frequently these kinds of shipwrecks have been torn apart, but this one is completely intact”, the Swedish diver and wreckage expert Anders Näsman said with some pleasure.
In order to protect the wreck during the investigations, the Landskapsregering - the government of the autonomous Åland Islands - has imposed restrictions on diving in the area that are to be valid until the end of the current year.