Yui Moritani, president of a public relations firm in Tokyo, is hoping that submerging wine in an undersea cellar off Amami-Oshima Island will revitalize the local economy. The process is widely used around the world due to the ideal conditions for wine aging – consistent and cool temperatures, higher pressure, and no excessive light. However, this method is rarely practiced in Japan.
In late January, 500 bottles of European wine were sunk into the Oshima Strait at a depth of about 20 meters. The company also opened a restaurant serving wine in November with plans to serve customers with submerged bottles in July. Some bottles will be aged longer to determine the perfect maturation period for optimal taste. Moreover, the company intends to offer underwater aging services for customers’ wine bottles in the future.
Moritani believes that this project will positively impact the environment as well. The underwater wine cellar attracts fish and seaweed while absorbing carbon dioxide. A diver who assisted in sinking the wine bottles observed that the water temperature was warmer than typical aging conditions, which could cause wine to age more rapidly but may pose a challenge during warmer summer months. Despite these challenges, Moritani remains optimistic that this unique approach to wine aging will become a popular trend in Japan and contribute to economic growth while protecting the environment.