Exploring the Deep: Underwater Aging of Wine in Japan

A Tokyo firm has embarked on an unconventional project to revive the local economy by aging wine in an underwater cellar off the coast of Kagoshima Prefecture in southwestern Japan. While underwater aging is a practice commonly employed worldwide, it is rarely practiced in Japan. Yui Moritani, the president of a Tokyo-based public relations firm, initiated the project, driven by the belief that the consistent and relatively cool temperatures, higher pressure, and absence of excessive light underwater provide ideal conditions for wine to mature elegantly.

In late January, approximately 500 bottles of European wine were enclosed in stainless steel cages and gently lowered to the seafloor at a depth of around 20 meters in the Oshima Strait, near the town of Setouchi. The submerged bottles will remain in the sea until June, ensuring optimal maturation before they are unveiled to enthusiastic customers in July. Additionally, some bottles will undergo extended aging to determine the perfect duration for optimal taste.

The Tokyo firm envisions expanding its services to include an underwater aging service for wine bottles entrusted by customers in the future. This innovative approach not only aims to elevate the quality of wine but also hopes to contribute to the local environment. The underwater cellar is expected to serve as an artificial reef, attracting marine life and fostering the growth of seaweed beds, which aid in the absorption of carbon dioxide.

The success of the project, however, faces a challenge. The area’s water temperature, measuring at 21°C on January 30, is slightly warmer than the typical conditions for aging wine. Moritani acknowledges that the greatest hurdle lies in ensuring the wine withstands the warmer summer temperatures.

As Japan ventures into the realm of underwater wine aging, it explores new possibilities for enriching the local economy and fostering ecological benefits. The anticipation surrounding this unique project marks an exciting chapter in the world of wine, demonstrating the country’s dedication to innovation and its willingness to push boundaries in pursuit of excellence.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the purpose of the project initiated by the Tokyo firm?
The Tokyo firm aims to revive the local economy by aging wine in an underwater cellar off the coast of Kagoshima Prefecture in southwestern Japan. The project seeks to take advantage of the ideal conditions underwater for wine maturation.

2. What are the benefits of underwater aging for wine?
Underwater aging provides consistent and relatively cool temperatures, higher pressure, and the absence of excessive light, which are considered ideal conditions for wine to mature elegantly.

3. Where were the bottles of European wine submerged?
The bottles of European wine were gently lowered to the sea floor at a depth of around 20 meters in the Oshima Strait, near the town of Setouchi.

4. How long will the submerged bottles remain in the sea?
The submerged bottles will remain in the sea until June to ensure optimal maturation before they are unveiled to customers in July. Some bottles will also undergo extended aging to determine the perfect duration for optimal taste.

5. What are the future plans of the Tokyo firm in regards to underwater aging?
The Tokyo firm envisions expanding its services to include an underwater aging service for wine bottles entrusted by customers in the future. This innovative approach not only aims to elevate the quality of wine but also hopes to contribute to the local environment by attracting marine life and fostering the growth of seaweed beds.

6. What challenge does the project face?
The project faces the challenge of slightly warmer water temperature in the area, which measures at 21°C. The greatest hurdle lies in ensuring the wine withstands the warmer summer temperatures.

Related Links:
Tokyo Firm Official Website
Kagoshima Chuo Official Website