Fine French wines to mature in Atlantic Ocean

Will wine lovers be storing their priciest plonk at the bottom of the sea in future, instead of in their basements? An experiment underway off the coast of western France could soon give us the answer.

Fine French wines to mature in Atlantic Ocean
Is storing wine in the sea the future? Photo: Credit Agricole GC

Numerous fine wines from Bordeaux and Burgundy have been lowered to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Brittany in western France, where they will be stored for a number of months.

Among the grand crus are bottles of 2011 Chateau-Grand-Puy Ducasse, 2011 chateau Meyney and cases of 2011 chateau-Blaignan.

The bottles were stored 90 metres under the surface of the Ocean near Ile d’Ouessant in western France at the end of last month.

All the wines belong to the firm Crédit Agricole Grands Crus, who handed them over to the firm Amphoris, which is in charge of carrying out the experiment and specializes in the storing of wine and champagne in the ocean.

“The sea brings together the ideal conditions for aging and improving wines,” said a statement from Crédit Agriciole Grands Crus.

“The wines have been specially chosen for aging under water, which can bring changes to the bottle as well as the product.”

Essentially by storing the wine in the sea it can speed up the aging process.

At the bottom of the sea “there is never daytime and the temperature remains the same all year round,” read the statement.

The wines will remain at the bottom of the Atlantic for between nine and 24 months.

However one problem the sea has that a traditional wine cellar doesn’t is that it can get pretty rough, especially the Atlantic on France’s western coast.

To counter the possibility that the bottles will be washed away or smashed to pieces on the sea bed, special racks have been designed to withstand storms.

All the bottles are also sealed with wax.

“At the end of this lengthy submersion a special wine tasting will be organized, to compare the aging of the wines to those that remained in their chateaux cellars,” said Crédit Agricole Grands Cru.

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Cold snap ‘could slash French wine harvest by 30 percent’

A rare cold snap that froze vineyards across much of France this month could see harvest yields drop by around a third this year, France's national agriculture observatory said on Thursday.

Cold snap 'could slash French wine harvest by 30 percent'
A winemaker checks whether there is life in the buds of his vineyard in Le Landreau, near Nantes in western France, on April 12th, following several nights of frost. Photo: Sebastien SALOM-GOMIS / AFP

Winemakers were forced to light fires and candles among their vines as nighttime temperatures plunged after weeks of unseasonably warm weather that had spurred early budding.

Scores of vulnerable fruit and vegetable orchards were also hit in what Agriculture Minister Julien Denormandie called “probably the greatest agricultural catastrophe of the beginning of the 21st century.”

IN PICTURES: French vineyards ablaze in bid to ward off frosts

The government has promised more than €1 billion in aid for destroyed grapes and other crops.

Based on reported losses so far, the damage could result in up to 15 million fewer hectolitres of wine, a drop of 28 to 30 percent from the average yields over the past five years, the FranceAgriMer agency said.

That would represent €1.5 to €2 billion of lost revenue for the sector, Ygor Gibelind, head of the agency’s wine division, said by videoconference.

It would also roughly coincide with the tally from France’s FNSEA agriculture union.

Prime Minister Jean Castex vowed during a visit to damaged fields in southern France last Saturday that the emergency aid would be made available in the coming days to help farmers cope with the “exceptional situation.”

READ ALSO: ‘We’ve lost at least 70,000 bottles’ – French winemakers count the cost of late frosts