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Shane's Hand Dug Sydney Cellar

Back in May of 2020 in our Cellar Sanctuary Series, we took you on a journey inside the amazing cellar of Shane Williams. 

The Cellar
Over the last 3 years Shane dug out the cellar in his 1880's terrace in Sydney, by hand with 2 mates. In that 3 years he didn’t have a living room or dining room floor, just 150 tonnes of dirt, mud, dust and a very big hole that was about 5m x 8m. The dog was not impressed!

It can hold over 2,000 bottles and has a lounge, spirits bar, dining table, TV, fridge, draught beer...now all he needs is a good record player. The riddling racks (pictured above) come from Chateau Reynella, the home of Cellar One. His dad was the General Manager in the mid-70’s and planted the famous, gorgeous Liquid Amber tree just behind Cellar One. It still stands proudly 45 years later.

Temperature control
Using a timer he runs an exhaust fan during the day to maintain good ventilation and a dehumidifier at night to keep the moisture down. Given its depth and solid walls, there are no large fluctuations in temperature.

When did you join Cellar One
Shane joined Cellar One in 2014. One of the first and best purchases he made was a case of Hardy’s 2008 Vintage Port from McLaren Vale. He believes these are stunning wines that age for decades.

Most prized possession
Due to his father's work with Chateau Reynella, Shane inherited some interesting older wines that hold sentimental value, one being a 1970 Chateau Reynella Red Burgundy (Shiraz).

The oldest wine in the cellar
Shane has some Hardy’s Vintage Port, new vintages. He remembers as a kid playing 500 with the family and his dad would open Chateau Reynella Vintage Ports from the 50’s or 60’s that Colin Haselgrove (Managing Director and Chief Winemaker of Chateau Reynella) had made. He also has an 1872 Johnsons of Sunbury red wine from Victoria. His parents drank it with Colin and Peg Haselgrove when the wine was over 100 years old and still in good nick. He still has the bottle, not the contents :)

What he drinks
Shane loves Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz; Bordeaux blends; and Shiraz from the Grampians or cooler climates. Tumbarumba and Hunter Chardonnay (any well made Chardonnay actually) and Chablis (if he can afford it). Australian, German and New Zealand Rieslings, Provence Rosé, Tassie sparking and Prosecco (Italian and non-Italian) are also favourites.

Advice for the budding cellarist
"If you ever build a cellar under the house, make sure you have a well thought out drainage strategy with multiple backups if one fails. If only I knew then what I know now!"

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