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Should You Be Drinking Wine That's Been Aged Underwater?

What is underwater-aged wine and is it even safe to drink?

Wine aged underwater may be the next big trend, here is what to know about this method of making wine.

What is underwater-aged wine?

Over the centuries there have been numerous shipwrecks where wine has been recovered years after the ship had sunk. Often some of the wine is still found to be drinkable! Even wine that was submerged for more than a 100 years was recovered and sold for thousands of dollars. Through these shipwrecks, the idea of underwater-aged wine has inspired some wine sellers to see if aging wine underwater has any added benefits or changes the progression of the wine.

Wine makers from numerous countries around the world have started to experiment with aging wine underwater. Through a variety of different processes and methods, winemakers are now aging wine underwater in both bottles and barrels and setting plans to leave the wine underwater for a few months to 50 plus years. Winemakers are seeing if the reduced levels of oxygen, the reduced exposure to light, the temperature and the pressure and movement of the ocean will have any impact on their wines.

All different types of wine including champagne, rose, red wine and white wine are being tried in underwater storage. Different types of corks and caps are being tried and this requires some practice with different depths in the ocean because wine that is being stored too deep could be impacted by the high pressure. The temperature of the ocean also determines where winemakers will place the wine because wine does best in even temperatures that are not too hot or too cold.

Why age wine underwater?

Although the effects of aging wine underwater are still not clear, it is theorized by winemakers that the wine ages faster underwater than it does on land. The wine may age more than twice as fast as land-based aging methods. Some wine tasters have noted that there are changes in the flavor, such as the wine tasting more complex or in some instances the wine tasted fresher. Wines appear to have notable taste changes from land-based wine, but it is yet to be determined what conditions and what wine has the best outcomes from underwater aging.

Is it safe to drink?

The biggest limiting factor to trying wine that is aged underwater will be the cost. Until more large-scale production occurs, the costs may remain high due to the amount of money it takes to store wine in this method. Currently, costs can be more than 10 times the cost of the wine if it is aged on land.

However, as to if the wine is safe to drink or not, it more than likely is. However, in the US, the FDA has some concern about the exposure of the wine in the ocean to factors that may make it unsafe to drink. As other countries move forward with experimenting with this method of aging wine, we should begin to see more clear guidelines on the safety.

[Image via Shutterstock]

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