John Baker – Stalin’s Wine Cellar
On the podcast today we are speaking with a truely remarkable man, John Baker. He has an incredible true story that you will think it out of a movie!
More than 20 years ago, Sydney wine merchant John Baker set off with his colleague Kevin Hopko to Georgia, a country which, at the time, was keen to get out of the shadow of the Soviet Union, and was hardly a leading tourist destination. Off they were in search of mythical cellar that may or may not have belonged to two of the most famous men in Russian history – Nicholas II and Joseph Stalin – that could have been worth millions of dollars on the market.
Their mission: to see if the cellar even existed, determine how they could prove the wines were what they were promised to be, and hopefully purchase the collection. That was just the start of a 3 year adventure that would take John from Double Bay, Sydney to Tbilsi, Georgia, via France and England, with plenty more bottles of wine, legal minefields, international negotiations, broken bottles and stories to last a lifetime…