SC experiment will test aging wine in ocean

  • Posted: Thursday, February 21, 2013 12:09 a.m.

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — An experiment in the age-old art of winemaking began on Wednesday as a California winery submerged four cases of Cabernet Sauvignon in Charleston Harbor to see how the ocean affects the aging of the wine.

Mira Winery of St. Helena, Calif., placed the bottles of wine in yellow steel mesh cages and then submerged them offshore in an undisclosed location. In three months, the wine will be removed and subjected to chemical tests and tasting by experts to see what differences it has from wine aged on land. The winery could produce and sell underwater-aged wine in the future if the trial goes well.


While wineries in Europe have experimented in recent years with ocean aging of wine, the idea is novel in the United States, said Jim “Bear” Dyke Jr., the Charleston resident who owns the Napa Valley winery. At least a handful of European wineries have produced underwater-aged wine, some of which has been sold in the U.S.

Winemakers have long known wine recovered from sunken ships has a unique taste and the ocean is thought to have something to do with that.

Dyke and his colleagues expect the water pressure, temperature and gentle swaying from currents to produce unique effects. He would not specify the depth of the water in which the wine will be submerged.

“This is a very exciting thing for me as a winemaker,” said Gustavo Gonzalez, Mira’s winemaker. “When you make wine it’s pretty much the same thing for everybody. You can change it up a bit but and see what happens and your cabernet may taste a little bit different from your neighbor’s cabernet.”

The idea is to find out if ocean aging has the potential to change that, he said.

“We’ll pull it out in late May and see what the effect of the water temperature, the water pressure and, more interesting to me, the swaying motion of the water does to the wine,” he said.

Notice about comments:

Salisburypost.com is pleased to offer readers the ability to comment on stories. We expect our readers to engage in lively, yet civil discourse. Salisburypost.com cannot promise that readers will not occasionally find offensive or inaccurate comments posted in the comments area. Responsibility for the statements posted lies with the person submitting the comment, not Salisburypost.com. If you find a comment that is objectionable, please click "report abuse" and we will review it for possible removal. Please be reminded, however, that in accordance with our Terms of Use and federal law, we are under no obligation to remove any third party comments posted on our website. Full terms and conditions can be read here.

Do not post the following:

  • Potentially libelous statements or damaging innuendo.
  • Obscene, explicit, or racist language.
  • Personal attacks, insults or threats.
  • The use of another person's real name to disguise your identity.
  • Comments unrelated to the story.