Down BelowOne of the very few areas of the building to show every sign of constant use and purely practical care, the wine cellars are, to a large extent, the domain of the house elves, but are an area in which every family member has set foot at some point. Even the most abstemious spouse or child has been called upon to admire, in its native habitat, the latest remarkable acquisition, or wondrous demi-carafe obtained from far flung corners of the globe, and generally at other than bargain prices. Wine is one of the few matters in which the Rookous are profligate even when they themselves don't benefit. A century and more ago, much the same could be said of the stables, but they spun off into a galaxy of their own under Abraxas, and are not usually included in any mental checklist, by the current occupants, of parts of the house and grounds.
In the event of fire sweeping through the building, Arcturus would certainly Apparate to the Port Shelves here, rather than the Portrait Hall in the main body, to rescue what he most cares about. Whether he'd stop to consider anybody else, is an entirely separate question.
The shelves are, in point of fact, Braille-coded, since Arcturus is concerned about the detrimental effects of heat on his collection, and has, should magic for whatever reason not work, banned the use of torches in this area. So sometimes, when they are ill for example, and unable to use their powers properly, the house elves have to come down here in the dark, and feel their way to the right bottle.
Pride of place among the new acquisitions, and marking a shift in Arcturus' palate, perhaps, is the £300,000 Lalique decanter of Macallan Scotch, which sits atop a rack of 40 bottles of 1875 St. Miriam Rock of Scotland Scotch, which were a paltry £18,000 each. For anyone who cares to do the maths, that's over £1 million worth of Scotch in only 31.5 litres, at an average of over £32,000 a litre, therefore.
The cellars lie beneath some 80% of the main building and the four wings, the exception being Caecey's wing. Over half of them are given to storing wine (or similar), the rest being used for item storage, or, occasionally, as dungeons. Remains of many things have littered the floors here, down through the centuries.
The total value of the collection runs into tens of millions of pounds, at the most conservative estimate. With the recent re-emergence from the woodwork of several members, and indeed branches, of the family, expensive and unwelcome inroads have been made into this resource. Archie, however, is still working on how to tap into this bottomless well of wine.
Roleplay (house elves constantly, family by design)