Richard Branson to Take Shelter From Hurricane Irma in Wine Cellar on Private Island

Virgin founder pens blog post as storm nears British Virgin Islands

Virgin founder Richard Branson plans to take shelter from Hurricane Irma in his wine cellar, the billionaire wrote in a blog post on Wednesday as the storm neared his private island in the British Virgin Islands.

“The atmosphere is eerie but beautiful,” he wrote in the post, updating everyone of his status. “Everyone is willing the eye of the storm to veer away from the BVI in these last few hours. As I wrote yesterday, our main concern is safety, for everyone here and for all the people in the BVI and in the path of the hurricane.”

Branson is joined on Necker Island by what he describes as a “a great group of young people.” After huddling up in two rooms on Tuesday night, the group will “retreat to a concrete wine cellar under the Great House” as the storm reaches its peak strength on Wednesday.

“Knowing our wonderful team as I do, I suspect there will be little wine left in the cellar when we all emerge,” he wrote.

Less than a week after Hurricane Harvey caused massive flooding along the gulf coast of Texas, Hurricane Irma swept through the Caribbean and is on path to hit parts of the British Virgin Islands. With winds faster than 180 miles per hour, the storm is expected to cause catastrophic damage as it makes its way toward Southern Florida.

“On Necker Island we have constructed really strong buildings (with hurricane blinds) that should be able to handle extreme weather pretty well, though with a Category 5 hurricane almost nothing can withstand it,” Branson wrote of his private island, which also features an expensive resort frequented by wealthy guests.

“We had some lovely guests staying on Necker Island who have cut their trip short for safety reasons, and another group of guests have also postponed,” he wrote. “I will be on Necker alongside our team, as I have been on the three times we have had hurricanes over the past 30 years.”