July 1998,
The fabulous story of the Jönköping

  • In 1916, Heidsieck & CO Monopole sent a shipment of 3,000 bottles of champagne to the Imperial Russian Army in St Petersburg. These crates of champagne were to be shipped from Sweden to Finland on board the Jönköping, before being transported by train to St Petersburg.
     
  • On 3 November 1916, the Jönköping was sunk by a submarine.
     
  • In July 1998, at the eastern tip of the Baltic Sea, a Swedish submarine expedition found the Jönköping shipwreck 64 metres below the water’s surface, and brought up 2,400 bottles of Heidsieck & CO Monopole champagne from the 1907 vintage. The Cognac and Burgundy that had been on board the ship did not survive 82 years under the ocean, but the 2,400 bottles of Heidsieck & CO Monopole champagne seemed to be in perfect condition.
 
   
 

The fabulous story of the Jönköping

The Jönköping was built in the Sjötorp shipyard in 1896. The ship measured 20.5 metres long and 6.67 metres wide. It was driven by an 18 horsepower diesel engine. The ship was loaded in Gävle on 26 October 1916 and set sail for Rauma, Finland for the tenth time that year.

After a few hours, storms interrupted the voyage, and the Jönköping had to drop anchor and stay immobile for a few days. The ship’s aborted attempt to get back to Gävle on time gave rise to a rumour that it had been sunk by a German submarine. This rumour came true in the end.
On 2 November, the weather conditions improved greatly, and the captain and his crew decided to continue their travels to Rauma.

At that very moment, a German U-22 submarine was positioned 12 nautical miles southwest of Rauma. The sun was not yet completely up, but the look-out could see and hear for 8 miles around, despite a slight morning fog. At 5 o’clock in the morning, he heard a sudden low noise. It was the sound of an engine. The captain was called to the look-out post and decided to examine the situation immediately. The U-22 left its position and moved towards the noise coming from the west.

 

The night had been calm and tranquil on board the Jönköping. The ship had crossed the North Sea without incident. Because of the darkness and the fog, the Finnish coast was not yet visible. The schooner continued its sail to Rauma while waiting for the dawn. Suddenly, the ship detected a small island and feared that the coastline was too close, so they steered the Jönköping away from shore. They quickly realised that the island was not an island at all, but a German submarine that was gaining on them…

The submarine Commander Hoppe ordered the ship’s captain, E.B. Eriksson, to turn off the engine and approach the submarine so they could present their shipping papers and describe their cargo. But Hoppe realised that their cargo contained contraband goods and told Eriksson that he would have to sink their ship. Eriksson did what he could to try to save the ship. He offered to throw all the cargo into the sea or to take it to the nearest German port. But Hoppe had already made up his mind, and he stood by his decision. It was the Jönköping’s tenth voyage that year with contraband goods. Hoppe said that all things must come to an end, and the Jönköping’s time was up.

Two members of the U-22’s crew rowed up to the schooner with explosives on board.
After setting up the explosives, the men hurried to take as many bottles as they could before leaving the ship. The entire cargo, minus the few bottles that were taken off, sank to the bottom of the sea with the ship.

The search for the Jönköping started in late May 1997 when Swedish researchers discovered the shipwreck 64 metres below the sea. It was not until July, when divers brought up the wreck with a 1907 bottle of Heidsieck & CO Monopole Goût Américain in hand that they knew they had found the Jönköping. (The same cuvée was on board the Titanic when it sank in 1912.)

 
     
 

July 2010,
0 another discovery in a baltic shipwreck

  • In July 2010, bottles over 200 years old were discovered in a shipwreck in the Baltic Sea. Between 1825 and 1830, a cargo galley sank with more than 150 bottles of champagne from different brands, including Heidsieck & CO Monopole, on board.
  • In November 2010, the oenologists who examined the cargo revealed that some of the first bottles they found had the oldest known vintages of the following champagne brands: Veuve Clicquot, Heidsieck & CO Monopole and Juglar. 

 
   
 

The 1907 vintage, one of the greatest of the 20th century

Imagine everything that was going through my head. I was going to have the privilege and the pleasure of

tasting one of the few 1907 bottles found at the bottom of the sea. Moments like that are unforgettable, and I would not have given up that chance for all the gold in the world.

It all started when I opened the almost sacred bottle. I took it in my hand, removed the wax that covered the cork, and started opening this divine bottle extremely carefully. My first great – pleasant – surprise was that the wine was still alive and well. 

 
   

Champagne

Provence

Camargue

Portugal

Sparkling Wine

 

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