Cellars

vault

The cellars of the Chapelle Ste Agnès vineyard are a large medieval style underground complex, where temperature and humidity are almost constant year round. The cellars consist of four underground levels, and feature a number of stone barrel and cross vaults that were built by a master stone cutter from France and by vault masters from southern Moravia. In order to build these vaults, dozens of varying and specialized forms needed to be constructed. The end result is a medieval style cellar complex dedicated to the production and storage of our wines.

Cellar historyAt the main entrance on the first underground floor one enters the Pressing Room gallery. There is a photographic Cellar stairwayhistory of the whole cellar project, along with accompanying descriptions, on the left-hand side of this gallery. To the right, one can look down into the Pressing Room (which is off limits to visitors) through a horizontal window protected by an antique wrought iron grill. Past the Fermentation Room gallery one enters a small hall. From here a stairway goes down to the second underground level. The barrel vault over the stairs features a basket weave pattern as it was done by the Knights Templar in the 13th century. The hallway at the bottom of the stairs features a cross vault which is held together by hand sculpted limestone “nervures”.

To the left, one enters the Tasting Halls (Salles de Degustation), built on two different levels. The walls of both rooms are built of large limestone blocks. The barrel vault of the upper hall is built of large desert stone blocks. At one end, a limestone arc frames an antique stained glass window.

Cellar tasting room

The lower tasting room features a large cross vault. The room also has vaulted niches where wine bottles are stored behind wrought iron grills. A stone-framed lunette encases a fresco painted by local artist Marek Latzman; the subject matter is a “renaissance-like” figural harvesting motif. A robust French 18th century trestle table, for banquets, celebrations and festivities of various natures, occupies the central location of this room. Overhead is a neo-gothic gilt bronze chandelier with 24 candles. A knight in shining armour whom we affectionately call Oscar and whom we are convinced has been through a few battles in his heyday, now resides in our cellars and keeps a silent watch over the Tasting Halls.

Oscar

If one continues past the antique throne in the upper Tasting Hall, cellar steinsone enters the Brick Room, which has 12 tables for four. Two lighted niches contain a collection of antique glasses and steins, mostly 19th century. cellar Brick roomIn a corner, a partition with a painting of a shield with the emblem of the City of Prague separates a small kitchen from the rest of the room.

Going back to the small cross vaulted hall and turning left, one follows a passage with yet a different type of barrel vaulting. At the end of the passage, a bronze night watchman greets and encourages guests to venture yet lower into the medieval wine cellars to where the vintages are carefully stored. cellar muralTurning right and descending another flight of stairs to the third underground level, one passes a large mural on the way down. It too was painted by Marek Latzman to represent the view of our vineyards as you would see them from this point assuming one was not 16 feet underground.

 

 

cellar waterfallcellar door At the bottom of the staircase one enters the Aging Hall. All of the shelving was constructed of bricks. Wood and iron would not last as long, due to the humidity. The cellars are built all the way down to solid rock. At one end of the Aging Rooms, where there is a sharp incline in the rock, there is a grotto with a waterfall—a scene straight out of the Phantom of the Opera! A tunnel connects the Aging Hall to a road on the edge of the vineyard. This tunnel was designed for transporting wine in and out of the Aging Hall. The outside entrance to the tunnel is a showcase of beautiful medieval stonework.

Below this level is a fourth underground level that may someday be used as an additional Aging Hall.

 

 

 

chandelier flowers in cellar bottles in cellar night watchman light