The founder of Bodega Tapiz in Argentina’s Uco Valley, Patricia Ortiz, announced that her Patagonian winery Wapisa would be the first in the country to experiment with underwater ageing.
The Rio Negro based Wapisa, which is part of Fincas Patagonias, decided to place crates of wines at varying depths in the Atlantic Ocean as part of their new ‘coastal terroir’ initiative.
Aided by a biologist and diver, the team submerged 1,500 magnums of their 2017 Malbec-blend in crates at depths between six and 15 metres, 25km away from their vineyards, off the shore of Las Grutas.
The wines remained in place for nine months before being tasted and inspected alongside bottles that had been cellared on land.
‘We seek elegance in our wines’ Ortiz said. ‘We were curious to explore if underwater ageing could actually allow us to have young wines with the benefit of maturity.
‘We tasted the underwater-aged wine and the cellar-aged counterparts blind, the difference was stunning: the former was rounder, more elegant and with fresher fruit,’ she said.
A second lot will be submerged at the end of this month, February 2021, in newly improved cages that will allow seawater to circulate through the bottles. The bottles will then be marketed together for consumers to taste themselves.
Underwater ageing is a growing sector
Underwater wine ageing is a technique being explored by an increasing number of producers around the world.
The first conference on underwater wine was held in 2019, addressing the process and challenges of submerging wine in the sea including concerns about ‘copycat wineries’ giving this growing sector a bad name.
In March 2020, a winery on the Italian island of Elba revived an ancient method of submerging grapes in the sea, once used to make wine fit for Julias Caesar.
Source: The Decanter