Australian wine merchant John Baker was approached with an incredible offer: 30,000 or more bottles of wine that had belonged to Nicholas II, the last tsar of Russia, and then to Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, were available for sale in Georgia. Was he interested?
Of course there were some hitches, not least among them provenance. But therein lies an incredible tale that would involve three continents, some of the world’s most prestigious winemakers, some very careful negotiations, and a more than colorful cast of characters.
Stalin’s Wine Cellar is a pretty ripping read with a swaggering narrative voice. It also, we should note, bears on its cover the words “based on a true story” with no further explanation of that aspect. Perhaps it’s simply another way of saying “names have been changed to protect the….”
Paperback. Color photographic insert.