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The most amazing wine cellar in the world: Underwater wine cellar in Croatia!

Ideal conditions for aging wines are stable temperature, quiet environment and no direct contact with the sunlight. So the wine can be undisturbed and relaxed, able to develop its aromas and flavors. Well, on a shell farm on the island Pag in Croatia they found all of those ideal conditions, underwater! Yes, the Coral Wine Project is the first and the “coolest” underwater wine cellar where wineries all over Europe can age their wines under the crystal blue sea in the Adriatic.

Coral Wine Project started four years ago. Wines are aged under the sea, at the shell farm on the island Pag. This project is a cooperative between the Adriatic Shell company and winemakers from all over Europe. Marko Dušević, the founder of the project, says he won’t stop at sinking only wines. A plan is to see what other types of alcoholic beverages can gain from the stable temperature, atmospheric influence, and tranquillity found under the sea.

In the future, the plan is to sink craft beer, gins, whiskey and other types of beverages.

First Underwater Wine Cellar
First Underwater Wine Cellar

Coral Wine Project involves more than 50 experts from the wine industry, from winemakers to oenologists, sommeliers to wine critics and judges. As such, it is the complete project that explores the natural power of the Adriatic Sea and its benefits in maturing alcoholic beverages.

Wines are being immersed at the depth of 15 – 30 meters under the sea level. The perfect conditions for aging wines. The temperature at this level is stable and between 8 – 16 Celsius degrees, with the maximum change of 1 Celsius degrees per month. Wine benefits from the silence and no direct sunlight.

Sea currents and underwater wellsprings give their energy to every bottle of wine

Every bottle under the sea is exposed to a significant amount of energy that flows under the water. Sea currents and underwater wellsprings give their unique signature to the flavors and aromas of the wine.

At these depths, the pressure is higher, around 2,7 ATA. To get the most significant benefits from these specific conditions, every bottle of wine needs to be carefully prepared and sealed. At the Coral Wine project, they add pigment to the vax protecting the cork.

How long do the wines stay under the sea?

It mainly depends on the type of wine and the age when it was laid in the underwater wine cellar. Marko Dušević says that they even placed some wines older than 15 years underwater, to see what will happen with flavors and aromas.

In general, wines are spending from 200 – 750 days under the sea. Most wines are taken out after approximately 350 – 400 days. Specially designed cages placed on specific spots on the shell farm, expose every bottle to the sea currents that carries corals, seaweed and other marine organisms that stay on the bottle. After more than a year underwater, bottles of Coral Wine become a unique signature of the sea, outside and inside.

When they are dived out, this is how the bottles look like
When they are dived out, this is how the bottles look like

Why wine cellar underwater?

Croatia is the first country in the world that started aging wines underwater and has the first underwater winery in the world. Now, the Coral Wine Project offers every winemaker, maybe even wine lover, that isn’t so close to the sea – to take advantage of the potential that this underwater wine cellar has.

What we concluded so far is that the wine develops differently under the sea. Wines are at the different stages of life than the same wines in the cellar. Changes are visible in flavor, color, and aromas of the wine.” says Marko Dušević.

Our recent tasting proves him right. We compared same wines from the wine cellar and the ones from the sea, where the "sea influence" was striking. Wines genuinely seem to develop faster, some winemakers that tested the method, say 3-5 times faster. The wine in its youth becomes softer and elegant to enjoy, and the fruit character of the wines amplifies. That is if the material is of the highest quality. 

Vinart Workshop with the Coral Wine Project
Vinart Workshop with the Coral Wine Project

First wines that saw the "sea influence" are now finally on the market. Find Coral Wines in our webshop and share your tasting notes with us!

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Interested in learning more about Croatian wine? “Cracking Croatian Wine” guide will save you time and money in researching. Get your copy here!

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