Upon arrival in 1911, Sir Hamilton Goold-Adams, his Lady and Harry Luke set about to explore Government House. Luke's investigations led him down a ladder into the rudimentary cellar. His descent was illuminated only by a taper, and the shelves seemed empty at first sight by the dim candlelight until a further search disclosed a few bottles in a bin in the remotest corner. Closer inspection revealed them to bear manuscript labels inscribed "Commandaria 1805", and instinctively, he marvelled at the late incumbents not referring to so rare a legacy in the handing over notes. With elation, he called out the good news to his Chief above and crept cautiously up with one bottle of the precious stuff. With infinite care, the bottle was broached, and the three of them each took a hopeful sip, only to reject it violently with a lack of decorum not usual in Viceregal circles. They then understood why the bottles had not followed the previous High Commissioner into retirement nor had been floored before he left.
Of course, no one realized that the bottles contained the best ingredient for producing more wine. The Cypriots always buried a few bottles of wine when their first child was born and dug them up to offer, diluted with fresh grape juice, at the child's wedding. This one was of the best kind.
The ‘Did You Know’ series is made possible with the support of OPAP (Cyprus) and the Active Citizens Fund.