On the Greek island of Santorini, Gaia Winery is experimenting with oxygen-free, underwater wine aging — and it is producing stunning results.
A metal cage full of wines, with two floats on either side, has been slowly sunk on the southeastern shore of Santorini, reaching a depth of 25 meters. It will remain there for five years while it also turns into a temporary home for sea creatures.
This marine challenge is part of a wider international experiment that is trying to look into the aging potential of some white wines. This wine, the Thalassitis, is based on Santorini’s Assyrtiko grapes.
According to experts, underwater storing would provide a kind of aging completely free of oxygen and light, as well as a constant temperature for all the time needed.
There are currently 10 wineries in the world taking their first steps into submarine aging, in the United States but also in Italy, France and Spain.
The experiment came to life after the discovery of a shipwreck off the coast of Finland dating back to 1840. At the time of the sinking, the ship was transferring Veuve Clicquot champagne to Russia. The 46 bottles recovered intact presented a unique freshness despite having been aged for more than a century.
Results so far look positive after a comparison between the sunken Thalassitis and the same wine aged in the traditional way. The submarine wine presents a fresh appearance with a mature, well-rounded flavor.
Despite its aging, the sunken Thalassitis keeps both a fresh color and aroma and has no trace of oxidation.