By Avery Matera. Photos: Getty.
As one of the countries that drinks the most wine in the world, Croatia knows its vino. But now, the Balkan nation is taking it to the next level: About an hour north of Dubrovnik, in the town of Drače, on the Pelješac peninsula, the country’s first underwater winery is open to visitors. Not only has the Edivo Vina winery been created in this below-sea-level sanctuary, but they also invite guests to dive with them and explore their process—as a bonus, visitors will even get to swim by an old sunken boat at the bottom of the Mali Ston Bay. How’s that for a next-level viticulture experience?
The process isn't all under the sea, however: The wine is first aged above-ground for three months and then stored in amphorae, a specific kind of clay jug with two handles and a narrow neck, below the water for one to two years. The unique storage of these jugs gives the wine a distinct pinewood aroma, according to Lonely Planet. And while the water increases the odds of leakage, the owners have taken every precaution to prevent contamination: All of the bottles are corked, and two layers of rubber are added to prevent saltwater from leaking in—and wine from leaking out. The amphorae are then packaged in cages and locked to prevent any unwanted divers from taking the unique brand of alcohol to-go. According to the owners, the idea to age their wine in water came from the belief that “the sea provides natural cooling in ideal conditions and the perfect silence underwater improves the quality.”
If you’re not enthused about slipping into a wetsuit and seeing the winery for yourself, you can still shop the bottles, which are retrieved after some 700 days covered in corals, shells, and the like, and can be shipped to you. Or, you could always pop down to Italy where the wine literally flows like water.
This story originally appeared on Conde Nast Traveler.
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