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Aging wine in the ocean? Is this wacky or what?

February 23, 2013|By S. Irene Virbila
  • Napa Valley's Mira Winery experiments with aging wine in the ocean, in this case Charleston Harbor on the Atlantic
Napa Valley's Mira Winery experiments with aging wine in the ocean,… (Mira Winery )

Ha! I was just starting to write a post about Mira Winery in Napa Valley experimenting with aging wine in the ocean — yes, it’s true! — when a video showing just what they’re up to popped in my in-box.

According to the winery, divers have placed four cases of the 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon in specially designed cages in Charleston Harbor. Why? Mira Winery president Jim "Bear" Dyke Jr. has Charleston, S.C., roots. "The South is beginning to really distinguish itself as a food and wine destination," he says on the two-minute YouTube video. Okay, but why put wines in the ocean? 

To see what happens. The plan is to leave the wines there for three months. Mira's Gustavo A. Gonzalez, described on the winery’s website as "a 100-point winemaker," says they’ll pull the wine out at the end of May and "see what water pressure, water temperature and more interesting for me, maybe, the swaying motion" is going to do to the wine.

In a release, Gonzalez explains further: "The ocean has similar ideal elements that impact aging – temperature, pressure, humidity, pressure motion, light -- or lack thereof -- and oxygen.... Is there something just as impactful and interesting in aquaoir as there is about terroir? We are going to try and find out."

Have they coined a new word? Aquaoir?

Ocean aging sounds wacky, but who knows? Some wines recovered decades or more after shipwrecks have been in good condition.

Stay tuned for updates on the experiment at www.miranapa.com/charlestonharbor.

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Twitter.com/sirenevirbila

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