Tour This New and Huge “Labyrinth” Cellar in Montreal

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In Montreal, journalist Louis-Philippe Messier travels mostly on the run, with his desk in his bag, in search of interesting subjects and people. He talks to everyone and is interested in all walks of life in this urban history.

A wine collector looking for a cellar large enough for his approximately 10,000 bottles understood that he would never get as good service as he would in person and built a huge “wine cellar” that I could see .

The 256 scented pine cellar spaces, overlooked by an army of refrigeration units and sprinklers, span more than 20,000 square feet and form a maze. This place can hold more than 1.25 lakh bottles. I got lost there.

“We increased the intensity of the lights because everyone was looking for their way out!” Jean-Frédéric Laberge, the businessman and wine collector behind the project, confirms this with a laugh.

Celliers Ogilvy, located in the basement of what was once the TQS and CFCF12 building, opposite Park train station and metro station, opened last December and already has around 80,000 bottles.

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“Next time, an additional wing of 70,000 bottles will be added for a total capacity of 325,000, making it the largest cellar in Canada.”

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Be careful not to get lost in the confusing corridors of the 256 basement locations! Louis-Philippe Messier

Missing basement

“Five or six years ago, the SAQ closed its rented basement space, which was under the old prison of Pied-du-Courant, and many collectors found themselves in a bad situation… including me Included!” He recalls a fifty-year-old man who got the wine bug while talking with famous sommeliers at his father’s restaurant in Quebec.

“It was called Paris-Brest and we had a cellar with over 300 types of French wines.”

Gastronomy and good wines, to use Obelix’s expression, Mr. Laberge therefore “fell into it when he was young”.

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“My parents were epicureans and we often traveled to eat in restaurants in Europe.”

At the age of 16, Mr. Laberge started buying nice bottles to keep.

“In 1998, I bought cases of Domaine Leroy at the SAQ for about $500 a bottle, which no one wanted, but now these bottles are worth $75,000 to $150,000.”

There is no question of big profit from reselling these bottles of Burgundy wine, which, you guessed it, have already been drunk!

“I don’t buy wine to speculate, I don’t resell it! I organize dinners, I enjoy them with friends who are also wine lovers.

“The goal is to be the first buyer so you don’t have to pay big bucks later.”

So does he plan to drink his 10,000 bottles?

“I’ll never be able to finish it, I’ll die of alcoholism, lots of alcohol, that’s for sure!”

basement in figures

  • Total capacity planned for autumn 2024: 325,000 bottles
  • Temperature: 10.5 degrees to 11.5 degrees
  • Humidity: 55% to 60%
  • Rental Fee: $3.50 per bottle per year
  • Number of current cellars: 256
  • Smallest spot offering: 384 bottles ($1344 per year)
  • Largest space: 4800 bottles ($16,800 per year)
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Security

A security guard, cameras, codes and keys to enter and exit the basement deter potential thieves.

A boarding fee of £3.50 per bottle per year should be calculated for a minimum of 384 bottles, which corresponds to the smallest cellar space offered.

“For those who have 1,000 to 2,000 bottles, there is the option of building a private cellar at home, but it is expensive… and why keep bottles at home that you will not touch for years?”

The most expensive bottle in his personal collection?

“It’s a bottle of Burgundy from Domaine Leroy that’s worth about $100,000.”

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The smallest cellars available for rent hold 384 bottles. Louis-Philippe Messier

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