Detta inlägg finns på svenska på min blogg Aqua Vitae – välkommen!
The other day I posted a story on my wine blog Aqua Vitae, this an English version of that post, though a bit shortened, about an odd find. It’s not every day I find common denominators between my interest in wine and in archaeology – this was such an occasion!
At the Historical Museum of Wines and Spirits (Vin & Sprithistoriska museet) in Stockholm an interesting bottle surfaced. It was originally found in the 1940s by a diver and later donated to the museum. The bottle is complete and from the 1790s – interestingly enough with a seal which reads: CON STANTIA WYN which makes an identification possible. The bottle comes from the South African wineries Groot Constantia. Groot Constantia is the oldest winery in South Africa founded in 1685. When I did some research on the winery I found a link to Sweden – in 1712 it was bought by a Swedish adventurer, a captain Oloff Bergh and his wife Anna de Koningh. Oloff Bergh was born in Gothenburg in 1643 and got eleven children with his Anna who took over the winery in 1716 when Oloff died. She managed it until her death in 1734. Here ends the Swedish connection until the bottle was refound at the museum. The most plausible explanation is that it came to Sweden via the East India Company and ended up on the bottom of the sea in the Stockholm archipelago.
A nice little story – it could very well end there, but now I want to taste the wine – of course today’s wines haven’t all that much in common with the wines of the 1790s but still its produced in the same place. The wine is normally available in Sweden but the importer seems to be out of stock at the moment.
I’ll come back to this issue as it opened up for several interesting questions and it became obvious to me that my knowledge of the history of wine have some big gaps. I was oblivious to the fact that wine was produced in South Africa at that time, that there were an export market from the new world at this point and that they were shipped in bottles – I believed they be shipped in oak barrels and tapped on bottle on site. There are finds of similar bottles, or rather pieces of bottles in the USA and in Germany so its not a single bottle. Well I’ll get back to you on this as I find more background material.