Thrilling stories about the 100-year-old wine cellar of Ba Na Hills

May 30, 2023 - 16:09
Debay is the name of a wine cellar built deep into the mountain, from 1923 under the French colonial period on top of Ba Na. And it is a pity if you visit Ba Na Hills without hearing the mysterious stories from inside the mountain about the place where the golden past of the French aristocracy was kept a century ago.

The wine cellar is a historical work embedded with the wine culture of the French in Ba Na Hills. This is quite a unique work in Vietnam because wine cellars are common in Europe but are rarely found in our country. More specifically, while wine cellars in Europe are frequently dug deep into the ground, the cellar in Ba Na Hills is hidden inside the mountain.    

During the period from 1919 to 1938, the French explored the top of Chua mountain and built hundreds of villas with hospitals, post offices, banks, etc., to serve the vacation needs of officials, military officers, French merchants and wealthy Vietnamese. In 1923, the French built the Debay wine cellar to store wines and especially famous wines brought from France. Debay is the name of the French captain who discovered Ba Na, and the wine cellar was named after him as a way of recognizing his merit.

The wine cellar has a total length from the entrance to the exit of about 100 meters, with a height of 2.5 meters and a width of about 2 meters. Inside the tunnel, there are wine cellars, a wine bar, a fireplace, and a lobby. The tunnel wall is built of mountain stone, while the ceiling of the tunnel is dug in the shape of an arch, reflecting French architecture. Moreover, the arch shape also contributes to the solid nature of the cellar. That is why, nearly 100 years later, hundreds of magnificent villas are now just ruins, but the wine cellar has withstood the test of time, and despite the harshness of nature and the destruction caused by bombs during the war, it is the only work of the French that has survived in Ba Na in its entirety.

Exploring the wine cellar, tourists will see small stone holes dug deep into the cliffs. The temperature inside the wine cellar in general and these small caves in particular is usually around 16-20oC, which is the ideal temperature for storing wines. In the cellar, there are currently 14 wine holes, including nine small holes and five large holes, each of which has an owner. A century ago, they were the owners of villas or hotels in Ba Na.

After a period of research from various sources, up to now, the resort has found two of the 14 owners of the wine holes here, including Mr. Morin and lawyer Beisson - a close friend of Mr. Morin. Morin and his brothers boldly invested in building the first hotel in Ba Na tourist area, with a total of 22 fully-equipped rooms, which was completed and put into operation in 1923, the same year that Debay's ancient wine cellar was launched.

100 years ago, ordinary Vietnamese hardly had the opportunity to set foot here. The reason for this is that it was only for the elite, which included officials, high-ranking officers in the French army, French merchants and a very few wealthy Vietnamese people who were pro-French. This is the place where the French met and organized lavish parties and dances. 

With the French withdrawal from Vietnam in 1945, Ba Na fell into oblivion and the wine cellar suffered the same fate. It was abandoned for a long time and the area was partially destroyed by bombs. Debay wine cellar is an important work that needs to be preserved and embellished, and it is an indispensable attraction for all tourists when visiting Ba Na.

Not only is Sun World Ba Na Hills resort recreating history and restoring the past, but it has also continued to upgrade, maintain, and restore the functions of the wine cellar, with the goal of giving tourists the opportunity to experience the pleasure of enjoying the precious wine that the rich French aristocracy enjoyed hundreds of years ago. Ba Na has been restored, and the wine cellar has been restored close to its original state. Therefore, coming to Ba Na Hills today, tourists will not be surprised to see wine cabinets, a wine bar, a fireplace, and French-style reception rooms in the Debay wine cellar.

For the first time, tourists visiting the 100-year-old Debay cellar this summer will be transformed into old French aristocrats, returning to the historical memories of the 1920s, experiencing France's wine culture, and re-imagining the space and luxurious atmosphere of the banquets that wealthy French officials used to enjoy.

These special experiences are included in three levels of choice: Silver, Gold and Platinum. Accordingly, at all levels, tourists will visit the cellar and enjoy a glass of wine or cocktail. The only difference between the levels is the different drinks, allowing tourists to experience different premium wine/cocktail flavors at Debay wine cellar.

To increase the experience for tourists, Sun World Ba Na Hills built Bar Debay right above the wine cellar in a spacious and luxurious space. This is where tourists can stop for a short time and continue to enjoy rare and fragrant glasses of wine.  

Debay Bar also impresses with its open outdoor space overlooking the flower garden Le Jardin D'Amour. From here, tourists can sip on fragrant sparkling wine, enjoy grilled meat skewers while watching the clouds pass over the thousands of flowers in front of their eyes.

Visiting Debay Wine Cellar to experience being a French aristocrat for a day, discovering the precious cultural and historical values of the 100-year-old cellar, and enjoying a glass of wine on top of Ba Na will provide you with special and unforgettable feelings this summer.

Each work in Ba Na has a particularly interesting story. But the story of the Debay wine cellar is a whole novel that if you miss the opportunity to discover it, consider yourself to have never visited Ba Na.