As we all know, winemaking is both an art and science.
Napa Valley winemakers have launched many creative ways to perfect their craft --such as, for example, an underground cellar for Marketta Fourmeaux's Marketta Winery.
Now, another Napa Valley vintner, Mira Winery, is looking at a new venue, this one a little wetter: submerging wine bottles in the ocean.
The St. Helena winery is thought to be the first American winery to experiment with aging wine in the ocean.
Divers this week placed four cases of 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon in specially designed cages in Charleston Harbor.
“The ocean has similar ideal elements that impact aging – temperature, pressure, humidity, pressure motion, light -- or lack thereof -- and oxygen”
Mira, which distributes to high-end restaurants and through its www.miranapa.com website, will leave the wine bottles in Charleston Harbor for three months, starting yesterday, Feb. 20.
The objective is to understand the difference between wine aged on the ocean floor versus wine aged in the warehouse.
“We will make an initial drop to test a process which we plan to expand on in both quantity and time going forward,” said Mira Winery President Jim Dyke. “Making history in Charleston Harbor is not new, but certainly a first for a Napa Valley Winery.”
Several European wineries have experimented with aging and storing wine in the ocean, though Mira’s project is the first in the United States. Over generations, explorers have recovered wine from sunken ships and declared the wine to be enhanced by the underwater elements, such as its movements.
“The ocean has similar ideal elements that impact aging – temperature, pressure, humidity, pressure motion, light -- or lack thereof -- and oxygen,” said Gustavo Gonzalez, Mira Winery Winemaker. “Is there something just as impactful and interesting in aquaoir as there is about terroir? We are going to try and find out.”
After three months, the wine will be tested and tasted by local sommeliers in comparison to the same vintage that has been stored in similar conditions above ground.
Control factors going forward include how long after bottling it is submerged, as well as how long it spends underwater. Updates can be found at www.miranapa.com/charlestonharbor.
Mira Winery, launched in August 2012, has Napa Valley 100-point winemaker Gustavo Gonzalez at the helm. Mira produces handcrafted, small production wines that can be found in restaurants in California, Charleston, S.C., Palm Beach, FL and Washington, D.C. and at www.miranapa.com.
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