Reaching a New Depth: Croatia’s First Underwater Winery
29th June 2017
The idea of storing wine underwater might seem a bit unusual, but wineries across the world are finding it an ideal way of storing their wine. From barrels to submersible cages, producers are seemingly embracing this new trend.
The ocean provides the ideal conditions to preserve wine, so much so that it is becoming a practice that wineries are undertaking. Storing wine under the sea might seem strange but it is an environment which offers the near perfect conditions of darkness, humidity, temperature, and pressure. Additionally, storing wine underwater is free, and provides extra storage space for some wineries.
Storing Wine Underwater
Excessive light can be damaging to wine, particularly if the wine is exposed to light for long periods of time. Storing wine in the ocean depths is perfect for a long-term solution; as well as being dark, the ocean is a highly efficient refrigerator. Constant temperatures are vital for wine storing and the ocean provides a constant, cold temperature. There is a higher pressure keeping the bubbles bubbly at the bottom of the ocean and lower oxygen levels, which ensures that less enter into the wine.
In 2009, Ligurian Sea wine producer and merchant Piero Lugano ran out of space to store wine in his property in Cinque Terre, Italy. He proceeded to anchor it down 180 feet deep in the Portofino Marine Park, near Genoa. Having been successful, Lugano now stores 6,500 bottles every year underwater in steel cages marked ‘Abissi’. Storing the wine for a year to 18 months.
Underwater Winery in Croatia
Called Edivo Vina, Croatia’s underwater winery is just an hour away from Dubrovnik, at the bottom of the Mali Ston Bay in Drače. Developed and owned by Ivo and Anto Šegović and Edi Bajurin since 2012, they believe that the sea provides wine with natural cooling that is combined with ideal conditions.
Their first foray into storing wine underwater was in 2013 but it took them three years to properly conduct the necessary research. The wine is not left completely alone, however, as divers check on each amphora every 10 days to guarantee no seawater has made its way into the wine.
The red wine is stored under the ocean in clay pots called ‘amphorae’ for a period of approximately two years after ageing on land for three months. Located at 20-metre depths, the wine is kept in cages with a constant temperature of 15° to 17° degrees Celsius which gives the wine a unique taste. It is said that this wine has a pinewood aroma derived from the amphorae, and differs from wine matured in a cellar.
The bottles are protected with a cork and sealed with wax to ensure that no seawater enters the wine. The bottles are sold for up to £270 a bottle at a nearby restaurant after 700 days underwater. The sea fauna and flora attached to the amphorae increases their uniqueness, providing an exclusive gift for any wine lover.
Wineries are still experimenting with the continued storage of wine underwater but, as an increasing choice by producers around the world, it’s opening the way to wines with unique aromas due to the storage conditions. At Spiral Cellars we provide a high-quality service for you to store your wine in your home, ensuring you have the ideal conditions for any wine – including a bottle from Edivo Vina.
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