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Thursday, November 16th, 2017

Bottles, treasure, wine… trip to the submarine wineries of Spain

More and more wine companies bet on the trend of aging their bottles of wine on the seabed, as they believe that the depths of the ocean will give them special characteristicsUnderwater wine cellar

Legend has it that there are bottles of wine buried on the seabed, waiting to be uncorked after a long beauty sleep.  It sounds like an adventure story, but in reality it’s an aging technique that has a long journey with more and more followers. The winemakers that apply this technique talk about some light conditions and techniques that are much better than on the surface, in a way that speeds up the aging of the wine as well as allowing them to mature easier than if it was in a traditional wine cellar. There are also skeptics that consider it an eccentricity. There is currently a pending scientific oenology to give its verdict, the spread of wines in the deepest of waters has reached Spain, where we now have underwater wineries.

This is the case in Vina Maris, in Calpe, considered to be the first submarine winery in the Mediterranean and situated no less than 30 metres deep. The driving force is Israel Padrino, scuba diving instructor, until he decided to combine his passion for the sea with his passion for wine. Just like that, inspired by the bottles and in the amphoras found in the sunken ships, he decided to take a leap of faith. The company from Alicante defends the marine pressure and the lack of sound encourages the harmony of the drink, which flavor is also enhanced with saltiness. However, far away from the production of their own wines, they submerge the wines from the wineries of Enrique Mendoza, also in the same province, more specifically, a Monastrell 2008 and a Chardonnay 2012. It was not easy to get the necessary permits in order to settle in the seabed, but now Vina Maris also offers scuba diving excursions to visit the winery and recover some of the sunken bottles.


Another well-known underwater winery in Spain is Crusoe Treasure, located in the bay of Pletzia (Vizcaya). It all started with a biological project in 2008, that includes the design of a winey accompanied with a marine ecosystem that serves as living laboratory. In charge of this particular idea is the businessman Borja Saracho. Although the progress has been analyzed regarding the performance of up to 27 different wines, it only relies on two varieties for sale: CT classic, with a year of aging in oak and another in underwater cages; and CT Passion, with six months in barrels and one year of aging in the sea. Both have a blue colouration, a characteristic that it gets from its origin. You can also visit this winery, that also allows us to see more than a thousand species that live together in an artificial reef.


There have been other model projects, but the frenzy for the submerged wines is not exclusively Spanish, but has reached other countries. In Croatia, the winery Edivo Vino aged their wines boutique in the deep sea, with the romance added using clay amphora’s, after having been covered with seaweed and conches.  Another winery that also lets you visit it, is the Viña Casanueva in Chile, that ages its wines in the Pacific ocean, but sometimes collaborates with the Spanish company Terramar to submerge the bottles in the cove Llevadó (Girona). The list is very long and will not stop growing. The names such as Bodega Mira, in the Charleston (South Carolina), the Italian Bission, in Génova; or the o Chateau Larriyet-Haut-Brion, in Frane, complete the list.


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