Bermuda Department of Conservation Services

Wine discovered in Bermuda shipwreck

Sealed wine bottles inside an intact wooden crate buried inside the bow of the 1864 blockade runner Mary Celestia 
Photo Tane Casserley

By Sirkka Huish -The Royal Gazette Online

Five bottles of unopened wine have been discovered stashed in the bow of the American Civil War blockade ship Marie Celestia – 147 years after she sank off South Shore.

The crate of bottles — which could be fortified wine — was found in the bow of the shipwreck by an international team of archaeologists working with Bermuda's Department of Conservation Services.

Public Works Minister Derrick Burgess announced at a press conference today that a diving expedition in the last week had excavated the bottles of wine from the site.

He said: “What they have found is fascinating — a secret stash of five bottles of un-opened wine, lodged inside the wreck which lay hidden since September 6, 1864.

“The Mary Celestia is a wreck with historical significance to the United Kingdom, where she was built, Bermuda, where she operated out of and where she wrecked, and the United States, where she ran as a blockade runner during the US Civil War.

“And for this project to take place so close to the anniversary of the American Civil War gives the discovery all the more resonance.”

The excavation project is also being filmed by Look Bermuda for a film about the Mary Celestia and blockade running, which will be shown to schoolchildren.

This discovery comes after Philippe Rouja found one bottle of wine in January, after a series of winter storms removed sand from the site.