The ancient process of aging wine is getting a new spin, as winemakers all over the world are taking a dive into the deep and placing their bottles of wine in underwater “cellars” to age. Traditional methods on dry land have producers experimenting with oak barrels, concrete vessel, amphorae, and more. Is the new “Sea Wine” just a fad or does it make for tasty well-aged wine?
Inspiration from the depths
Perhaps inspired by the intact amphorae found on the ancient shipwrecks in the Mediterranean, a number of wine producers have started experimenting with this novel approach. The first known winemaker to try this was Spanish winemaker, Raúl Pérez at his vineyard on the shores of Northwestern Spain in 2003.
In 2014, renowned champagne producer Veuve Clicquot’s picked up on the potential after intact bottles of their champagne were found on a 170 old shipwreck. The house started their 50-year experiment “Cellar in the Sea,” by placing a collection of their champagne in a specialized cage at 40m in the cold Baltic Sea (maximum 16 C).
Benefits of Underwater Aging
The wine producers who are trying it out, believe that the sea offers some prime conditions for the maturation process. Consistent temperature, lack of light, pressure, and the movement of the sea over time might produce some interesting results in their taste.
The depth and temperature play a vital role. As any diver knows each 10 m underwater exerts 1 Atmosphere of pressure, or one bar, on the object at that depth – in this case, the wine bottle. Since it is an inflexible container, it’s hard to know exactly how the pressure affects the wine – the tastings will tell!
The results so far are mixed, with some winemakers announcing a more rapid maturation underwater than on land and some reporting a fresher taste. No doubt, the experiments will continue and the process tends to fascinate.
Aquacore Divers along with friend, wine producer, and diver, Antonis Manolidis, have started our own small, experimental underwater wine cellar this year. We placed 8 bottles of wine at 2 different locations and depths in the waters close to Agia Kyriaki, Pelion.
First tasting a year from now!
Watch this space. In the meantime watch this video of our Underwater Wine Expedition.