There's been a buzz going around among oenologists (scientists who study wine and winemaking) since 2017.
Word is the winemaking industry is looking at a new way of aging wine... underwater.
That's right. Oak barrels stored in special temperature-controlled cellars and warehouses are now competing with a new aging process that is slowly gaining respectability.
The genius who came up with the idea is Gergo Borbly who came from a Hungarian wine-making family. He had a passion for diving and winemaking and combined his two hobbies into a venture that is now being explored by winemakers around the world.
To be sure, Gergo didn't just have a simple epiphany or a vision. He read about divers in the cold Baltic Sea in 1998 who discovered thousands of bottles of Champagne that had sunk deep in a Swedish schooner, which was wrecked by a German U-Boat in 1916.
The story unfolded in Sweden and London where the bottles were sent for analysis. After popping a few corks, wine experts discovered that not only was the Champagne unspoiled, but it was also surprisingly delicious.
In 2017 Gergo and his wife Mariona Alabau set up ElixSea, an underwater winery" in Priorat, Spain, and began aging wines in the Mediterranean Sea.
Amazingly the underwater wine aged 3 to 4 times faster than their control samples, which is the same wine but kept in a wine fridge. The results, according to Gergo is "a more mature character, much smoother, lower levels of tannins, and more balanced acidity."
You can visit ElixSea at one of the winery's tasting events, where guests taste underwater wine alongside their land-aged counterparts. The land-aged wines have been aging for 3-4 years, while the underwater wines have been submerged in the sea, a careful blend of Grenache, Cabinet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Carignan.
The concept of underwater wine has taken off in the last five years. Edivo, was the first winemaker to produce underwater wine in Croatia. Since then, underwater wines have popped up in Argentina, Portugal, Greece, South Africa, Australia, Italy, Chili, and Brazil.
The epicenter of underwater wines is still in Spain where there are now five underwater wineries. Because underwater wine requires a shorter aging time, but brings results of equal quality to land aging, it means increased production is possible.
What do you think? Sound good?
Related: Underwater wine aging: Why are wineries doing it?