Mira Expands Underwater Wine Aging (Aquaoir) Across the Country
Mira, America’s first winery to experiment with aging wine in the ocean, announces new program that allows enthusiasts to join the movement
Wine enthusiasts will soon be able to age wine in rivers, lakes, harbors and other bodies of water, thanks to a new program launched today by Mira Winery – the first to experiment with underwater aging of wine. Beginning today, those wishing to participate will have the opportunity to place an order for one case of 2012 specially labeled Cabernet Sauvignon, housed in a custom-built steel cage, the same as those used in the winery’s Aquaoir experiments.
“Once we confirmed that the initial phase of this experiment was a success, we wanted to make it easier for others to do the same and have a collective discussion about the impact of aging wine under water,” said Jim “Bear” Dyke, Jr., Mira Winery President. “By learning more about the water’s effects, we hope to glean information that will allow us to innovate how we age wine on land as well.”
The self-experiment development follows the May 2013 conclusion of Aquaoir Phase I when four cases of the winery’s 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon were recovered after three months of ocean aging 60 feet below the water off the coast of Charleston, S.C., and the November 2013 launch of Phase II when Mira began aging twice as much wine for twice as long – eight cases of the winery’s 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon for six months. The wine from Phase II is scheduled to be retrieved in May 2014.
“We have established that ocean-aged wine, over the course of three months, took a divergent path from the same wine aged on land in a traditional environment,” Dyke said. “Experimenting with the same wine over the same period of time in different underwater environments, and testing it against the same wine aged on land will allow us to narrow our focus on what is impacting the change.”
When Mira commences Phase III of the experiment in the fall of 2014, all participants will submerge their own experimental cage in a body of water of their choosing to measure the effects on the wine. As with Phase I and II, each cage will be equipped with gauges to measure temperature, and participants will record other factors that may impact the wine aging process including pressure, motion and light. Upon retrieval of the cages, data will be collected and made public at www.aquaoir.com, the online portal Mira established to educate the public further about the process. The water-aged wine will be chemically and taste tested versus the same wine aged on land.
Each individual who chooses to participate will receive a custom-built cage loaded with 12 bottles of wine at a cost of $2,200 plus shipping. The aged wine will be theirs to keep for their collection along with a case of the same wine aged on land allowing them to conduct their own series of blind taste tests. In July and November, Mira sold two-bottle sets (one Aquaoir and one land-aged) from Phase I for $500 per set.
The process of aging wine underwater has been coined “Aquaoir” by Mira, paralleling the impacts of the land-based environment on vines and grapes, an industry recognized term, “Terroir.” In a seven city-seven day taste testing tour following the Phase I retrieval, nearly all 126 participants, which included sommeliers, restaurateurs, wine club members and those selected on Facebook, stated that they could taste a difference in the wine aged under the ocean versus the wine aged on land. They also rated the land-aged wine “outstanding,” giving it a 93 on The Wine Spectator scale.