HOW THE CRYSTAL SPRINGS WINE CELLAR CAME TO BE.
The collection actually began in the mid-1960s when Mr. Mulvihill began to have success in the securities industry and decided to start investing in a commodity that would not only make him money but give him pleasure by consuming it. At first he was just another novice collector, but as his studies increased along with his experience he developed a knack for identifying collectible wines before they were deemed “collectible”.
His growing collection sat in an acclimatized corner of his basement until he decided there was too much risk with temperature and humidity with cooling systems. He thus created a subterranean basement a full level below his basement which gave him the perfect humidity and temperature naturally.
With his acquisition of the Vernon Valley ski area and its accompanying bar and liquor license, he was able to cut out the middle man retailer in his purchases.
In the early years of resort ownership, he held many a festival but most were festivals whose beverage offerings centered around beer. In fact, Mr. Mulvihill was so focused on creating an authentic Octoberfest themed festival that he ventured to Germany where he purchased a microbrewery, had it shipped to America and assembled at the ski area. He hired German Brewers he flew in from Germany and used German Hops and barley. The only thing American was the water.
This was one of the first microbreweries in American at the forefront of the first wave of new breweries in the mid-1980s. The beer was a huge success as was the Octoberfest which is still held annually today at The Resort attracting over 20,000 guests over a weekend.
With his acquisition of Crystal Springs in 1995 and its subsequent expansion with the new Crystal Springs Clubhouse, he ordered the new building’s basement to be dug deep and the creation of a number of caves for wine storage. While he had assembled an impressive collection, he went on a buying spree for a number of years that made him a legend at the wine auctions around the world.
He had a number of reasons for aggressively increasing the size and quality of his collection. First, he saw fine wines taking off in value. In fact, most of the wines he had purchased over dozens of years, appreciated at a far faster rate than many of his more traditional holdings. The only problem he encountered was when he and family would open a few great ones and unlike a stock which when disposed of leaving him with cash, the disposed of wine left him with but a smile and a satisfied constitution. Understand though, Gene never hesitated to enjoy his wine with friends and family. He often would tell the staff that watched in awe as he opened and shared liberally some of his most valuable wines, “it’s meant to be drunk!”
Inspired Magazine/Volume 9-2017