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Wine bottles

A hidden wine vault was found in the basement of a history museum


Researchers at Kean University in New Jersey recently found a hidden wine vault in the cellar of the Liberty Hall History Museum there.

Built in 1772, the house was owned by William Livingston - one of the Constitution's original signers.

Livingston must have had a real taste for spirits as over 50 bottles of assorted alcoholic beverages were discovered in cases dating back almost 300 years during renovations.

"When we started popping open those crates, one of the crates we found were three cases of Madeira from 1796 that still had not been drank." Bill Schroh, director of museum affairs, told Circa.

Madeira is a wine that dates back to the 1400s during the age of exploration. Made in the Madeira Islands off of the coast of Portugal, it is known for its longevity - 150 year old bottles can still be purchased today.

Bottles of whiskey, bourbon, rum and gin were also unearthed in the search, including a gin variety created specifically for Trinity College in Cambridge, U.K. that is still made to this day.

Several large cases of cigars were additionally discovered, still in great condition due to their storage in well-designed humidors.

"A lot of the cigars that we found were actually pre-Cuban cigars dating to the 1940s and the 1950s," Schroh said.

For the museum and the collection's owners, the next step will be to test the potability of the wine and then arrange a tasting. Schroh said the conversation over the uncorking has started.

"The decision to open one of the bottles and to taste it is really up to Mr. John Keane, the owner, and he hasn’t made a decision yet but we are in discussions about what do next about the wine."

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