It was both good and bad news for divers who salvaged a World War I-era shipload of alcohol from the bottom of the Baltic Sea.
The 92-year-old champagne was still bubbling. But what freight documents said was cognac appeared to be just undistilled grape mash, and the ship itself was in such bad shape that it probably won't be restored."The cognac was a disappointment," said Markku Kankaristo, who spoke by telephone Sunday from the dive site near Rauma, about 155 miles northwest of Helsinki, as divers completed their arduous mission.
A cache of champagne, wine and cognac has been lying on the seabed off the southwest coast of Finland since 1916, when a German U-boat torpedoed the schooner that was carrying an order for the Russian army.
According to freight documents, the Joenkoeping schooner was carrying about 5,000 bottles of champagne, 67 barrels of cognac and 17 barrels of wine when it was sunk.