Skip to main content

Why Some Wineries Are Aging Their Wines Underwater

Ever since some Champagne was recovered from a sunken ship in the Baltic Sea in 2010, there’s been a renewed interest in underwater wines. The bubbly was reported to be in great condition, despite being 170 years old. The ocean’s combination of darkness, cool temperature, and pressure created idyllic aging conditions for the 168 bottles on board.

underwater wine
Edivo Vino

Wineries have considered the approach for ages. For sparkling wine, especially, the ocean offers a cool and pressurized environment that invited longevity. But still wines appreciate the habitat as well. Like a musty old underground cellar, the ocean is without a lot of the things that can potentially harm wine, like light and heat (the impact of thirsty sharks has yet to be explored fully).

Related Videos

Today, there are a handful of labels taking advantage of what they claim is a special oceanic touch. In Chile, Cavas Submarinas ages some of its work in an under-the-sea cave. The label touts the many benefits of the Chilean sea and noticeable influence of the Humboldt Current (aka “Peru Current”), a cold and low-salinity South American ocean flow.

The cave’s location is a secret but the winery does extend occasional tours to the undisclosed spot. Ashore, the fruit is grown in the Itata Valley. Cavas Submarinas focuses on a handful of white and reds, including blends and a Pinot Noir. They’re assembled on land and then a select few, like the Reserva Marina, are aged underwater for three months.

placing bottles of wine underwater
Edivo Vino

Croatian winery Edivo Vino started almost ten years ago. The producer places 750-mL bottles of wine inside of amphora and seals them in rubber and wax. They’re then submerged in the Adriatic at a depth of around 60 feet for at least 700 days. Whether or not the wine tastes any better than one aged on land is still something of a mystery. If nothing else, Edivo’s vessels look amazing after almost two years in the ocean, ordained with barnacles and the pretty kind of wear-and-tear only sunken treasures seem to display. Here, you can even tour the underwater collection by way of scuba diving.

Wine’s curious fixation with the ocean brings up an interesting question: Does terroir apply to the sea as well as land? Is the Adriatic Sea doing something to wine differently than the South Pacific Ocean? On land, the soils, climate, elevation, micro-organisms, and more contribute to a wine’s flavor. Are similar qualities in our vast saltwater regions able to do the same?

edivo vino on shelf
Edivo Vino

Mira in the Napa Valley seems to think so. It has even invented a term to describe the effects of the sea in “aquaoir” (say that five times fast). The label stresses the magic that constant pressure and motion can provide. Many who have tasted the brand’s wines argue that they age quicker as a result of the process. In other words, a 2015 Mira wine might show the balance and texture one might associate with something more like a 2010.

edivo vino bottles on beach
Edivo Vino

It’s going to take some more research and perhaps a few big players to enter the field to draw any sharp conclusions. Larger, innovation-driven operations like Louis Roederer have already invested time and resources into the notion. Veuve Clicquot is running regular underwater experiments on some of its sparkling wine, with branded shark-cage-resembling containers no less.

As conditions on land become tighter and move volatile, it will be interesting to see if the ocean becomes a big player in the wine circuit. It’s hyperbolic to think that rising temperatures and increased fire pressure on land will move the whole operation underwater. Grapes gotta breathe, after all. But these subsurface experiments could yield some real treasures and a small new category of wine based largely on the silver lining attached to an age-old tragedy (the shipwreck, that is).

Editors' Recommendations

The 8 best protein shakes that are ready-to-go
These shakes come with all the good stuff, and none of the crap

With as busy as we have become as a society, we always seem to be on the go. This can make life challenging, especially when it comes to wellness goals. In a perfect world, you could hit the gym hard, crush a workout, then immediately refuel with a balanced, home-cooked meal. But, since life happens and we are always on the go, it’s not always feasible to take the time to actually cook up a muscle-building meal right after your workout. Whether you’re on the go and short on time, or just can't stomach a full meal after exercising, having a quick and easy, protein-packed option that doesn’t require kitchen time, is a helpful alternative to refuel your body and maximize your results.

This is where protein shakes come in handy. Numerous ready-to-drink shakes are available that provide muscle-building protein, vitamins, minerals, and calories to fortify your body after a workout. They offer the benefits of protein powders with the convenience of eliminating the need for a shaker bottle, or high-speed blender, let alone making a mess with powders. Simply give the bottle a quick shake, pop the top, and you’re good to go.

Read more
The 7 best CBD-infused drinks we tried in 2023
These tasty CBD-infused drinks will have you feeling calmer in no time
Cans o RisEau cbd drinks.

Cannabidiol, or CBD, has been hot for a while now, making its way into everything from CBD teas to a variety of CBD coffee brands. If you're wondering "what is CBD?" — it's a naturally occurring compound present in cannabis plants. According to the World Health Organization, it's not addictive, has a solid safety profile, and won't get you high. In clinical trials, it's been effective in the treatment of epilepsy and shows promise in treating a number of other conditions.

In addition to CBD-infused water, tea, soda, and seltzer, another growing trend is CBD-infused nonalcoholic spirits and cocktails. The adult beverage market is flooded with CBD products promising to help you relax, sleep, destress, and mellow out, all without the hangover you'd get from booze (CBD is considered a controlled substance and can't be legally added to booze, at least not yet). We've rounded up a few of our favorite CBD-infused drinks below, from CBD cocktails to CBD water, so you can work your relaxation into your daily routine no matter where you are.

Read more
Here’s how to make a margarita, according to top bartenders
The only margarita recipes you'll ever need
margarita tequila cocktail lime strainer

The best margaritas do not grow on trees, nor do they show up in a can (although there are some tasty canned drinks these days). No, the tastiest version of the tequila classic is made fresh, with love and care and some wisdom from a couple of top bartenders.

It's a balancing act, for sure, but when it's dialed-in, the margarita is one of the best and most refreshing cocktails ever devised. The classic mix of agave spirit, lime, salt, and a touch of sweetness is great alone or with any number of dishes, especially within Mexican cuisine (the nation where the drink was born).

Read more