Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire, England, is a Neo-Renaissance French château that was built between 1874 and 1889 for Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild. As you approach the magnificent building, it almost feels as if you’ve been magically transported to France. The wine cellars, a relatively newer addition to the estate, add to the luxurious French ambiance.
The wine cellars hold the world’s largest private collection of Rothschild wines, the renowned wine estate in Bordeaux that’s been producing some of the world’s priciest reds since the 19th century. At Waddesdon, more than 15,000 bottles, some of which are around 150 years old, are stored in the underground vaults. Most of the bottles are from the Château Lafite Rothschild and Château Mouton Rothschild estates.
Rothschild wines are also known for their labels, many of which were designed by famous artists of the day. The Waddesdon wine cellars also include a remarkable collection of wine labels designed by artists such as Salvador Dalí and Andy Warhol, as well as a sculpture of Bacchus, the god of wine, that dates to around 1740.
The wine cellars were created as part of a restoration honoring the 100-year anniversary of the estate. They opened to the public in 1994. The subterranean brick rooms were designed to look like the private cellars at Château Lafite Rothschild in France. Waddesdon Manor, now owned by the National Trust (having been bequeathed by James de Rothschild in 1957), also contains an internationally renowned art collection that includes an extraordinary musical automaton elephant that dates from 1774 and was made by the French clockmaker Martinet.
The exterior of the house played the role of the fictional Haxby Park in the second season of Downton Abbey (2011). The interior has been featured in numerous movies, including the James Bond remake of Never Say Never Again, where Largo challenges Bond in the World Domination Game.