EARTH AND WATER
An ambitious and original project we took part to in 2020, in collaboration with Marko Dušević of Adriatic Shell, who gave life to Coral Wines project. Coral Wine project is the first and only underwater wine cellar specialised in preserving wines under the sea surface.
The underwater cellar is located in a hidden valley in the island of Pag, and the base of operations is in Ljubač, a small village in the vincinity of Zadar, Croatia.
Before the Coral Wine project, the Adriatic Shell company was focused mainly on production of mussels and oysters, and it still produces food to this day – but the main focus has shifted to wine in the meantime. Producing the food in the same place where the wine rests, means that they have a rigorous scientific testing of the environment in which the bottles are diven. Thanks to the underwater infrastructure that works in harmony with nature in a sustainable way, the wildlife has been restored in the valley and is blooming with flora and fauna, as well as lots of small fishes that are hiding from both the predators and fishermen.
The so-called corals that form on the bottles are in fact mostly little worms that clean the bottom of the sea and try to turn foreign objects into stone. This biodiversity gives life to these state-of-the-art bottle designs.
The underwater environment is both perfect and imperfect in the same time. On one side, the bottles rest in the absence of light, complete silence and constant temperature, and on the other side they are exposed to constant pressure of the sea and the vibrations of the sea current. Rather than minimising the impact, Marko developed special cages that enable the bottles to float in the sea with minimum contact with the holders thus ensuring the sea flowing in between the bottles and maximum exposure to these conditions. They are also slightly elevated from the bottom of the sea, ensuring that the bottles do not take on any unpleasant smells. Each cage holds 150 bottles.
These unique conditions give the wines unique charachteristics compared to the traditional ones. The constant stress make the wine to be a bit more advanced in the terms of development. If you compare the same two wines from the same vintage and one underwater wine, the first one would show more primary aromas and characteristics, and the second would display more secondary and tertiary aromas. The acidity would slightly mellow down, and the tannins would become slightly rounder.