CELLARING WINE IN THE DEEP BLUE SEA
Is this the next wave of wine storage? One winemaker is counting on it. The world’s first undersea wine cellaring service 1OOO meters deep and 93 miles off the Atlantic Coast is slated to open next year. Frank Labeyrie, of Chateau du Coureau in Côtes de Bordeaux Cadillac, plans to open his cellaring service, Vin Mille Lieu Sous Les Mers – a pun on the French title of the Jules Verne’s classic, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea – in mid 2O13. Labeyrie believes that the ocean’s constant cool temperatures, zero oxygen and zero light will help the wines age slowly, so keeping intensity of fruit for longer, and deepening flavor. He has aged 1O,OOO bottles of his own wine in the Arcachon Bay for the past five years, at a depth of only 5 meters, but is certain the benefits will increase with the depth.
The wines will be secured in reinforced stainless steel boxes, capable of withstanding pressure of up to one ton per cubic meter, secured to the ocean floor, and each equipped with cameras and a tracking device, and with a wax seal over the bottles’ original corks and capsules. Storage will be for a maximum of 1O years, and bottles will be brought up for tasting every two years, when the owner can decide whether to continue with the cellaring or not. Labeyrie has partnered with marine maintenance company Jifmar Offshore Services, which is jointly funding research and will provide boats and the underwater robots needed to lay down and retrieve the bottles.