Croatia is known around the world for having some of the world’s best wines. This is proven by Croatia winning three platinum awards and sixteen gold medals at the 2022 Decanter World Wine Awards– their most successful year since the competition began in 2004. Croatia is however setting itself apart from its competitors in a unique way. Croatia is home to the first underwater wine cellar specialised in ageing wines under the sea surface, known as Coral Wine.
The general process of ageing wine is a scientific process that takes years to perfect. Processes will differ around the world, but what is agreed globally is that the ideal conditions for ageing wines include having a stable temperature, quiet environment and no direct contact with the sunlight. Once you have these three conditions met you can start to get creative!
Near the island of Pag, 15-30 meters below the Adriatic Sea surface, around 15,000 bottles of wine from all around Europe are aged in a shell farm. The sea current, pressure and temperature under the water all benefit the maturing process which creates a unique wine known as Coral Wine. The temperatures at these depths are stable at between 8-16 degrees Celsius, with the maximum change of 1 degree Celsius per month. The wines are aged in these conditions for around 250 -700 days, depending on the desired flavours of each specific wine. When asked to explain the taste of Coral Wine, it is often described as softer and rounder but still possessing the aromatic flavours of the original wine. Being aged in such extreme environments results in the wines maturity being noticeable even after a small amount of time under the sea. This is believed to be because of the barometric pressure placed on the wine bottles; what would take a cellar to achieve in 3 years only takes 1 year underwater.
What makes these Coral Wines even more special is that each bottle is completely distinctive in its design. Whilst aging in the sea, the surrounding small corals, algea and other marine organisms stick to the bottles, making every bottle a piece of artwork! Not only does this method of aging create jaw dropping bottles that add impact to any dinner party, but it also helps provide much needed habitats for marine ecosystems. What is not to love?
You may be wondering who would come up with such an inspired idea. The Coral Wine Project has been created from a partnership with the Adriatic Shell company and winemakers from all across Europe. Marko Dušević, the founder of the project, has big plans for the company and is not planning to stop at sinking just wines. He wants to see how the process impacts the aging process for other alcoholic beverages and we cannot wait to see how they turn out. If you would like to find out more about the Coral Wine project head over to The Taste of Croatia website to find out more.
The Coral Wine Project has been such a success that it has inspired others to try it for themselves. We have spoken to wine specialists from Vinoteka Terra in Split and asked if there were other types of Coral Wine that they recommend. They said, “We have excellent Coral sparkling wine from Mr. Ivančić from Plešivica. His sparkling wines are under the sea on the outside of the island of Krk. We tried it and they really mature differently and it has an effect on the bouquet itself.”
If reading about these unique Coral Wines has wet your appreciate, why not try some? When organising your Croatian Yacht charter let us know if you would like us to arrange for some Coral Wine to be on board ready for your arrival!