This Sparkling Wine Was Aged on the Arctic Ocean Seabed

Rathfinny Wine Estate aged 1,700 bottles of sparkling wine underwater for six months to refine the taste. The results were surprising.

Three bottles of Rathfinny Classic Cuvée 2018. Specially packaged versions of this wine were aged underwater for six months.
Rathfinny Classic Cuvée 2018, in different bottles, were aged on the Arctic seabed

Turns out that aging wine on the ocean floor is becoming a trend. The latest to try this novel approach to maturation? Rathfinny Wine Estate, a certified B Corp wine producer in England that teamed up with cruise operator Hurtigruten Norway to age 1,700 bottles of sparkling wine on the Arctic Ocean seabed.

Per Decanter, the project was designed to celebrate the cruise line’s 130th anniversary. Dubbed Havets Bobler (“Bubbles From the Sea”), the Rathfinny Classic Cuvée 2018 bottles were sealed in a special wax fitting and rested at a depth of just over 100 feet for six months.

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“Following our first conversations with Rathfinny in 2021, we fully believed these unique Arctic conditions could help create something special but ultimately it was all speculation – the last thing you want to do is spoil the wine,” says Tani Gurra, director of beverages at Hurtigruten Norway.

Spending six months in an underwater wine cellar apparently did alter the flavor. While the aim was apparently to create a smoother and rounder texture (and softer bubbles), wine experts said the wine “retained more vibrancy and freshness” and delivered “refreshing citrus tones to a mineral salty finish, like an oyster.”

“Despite spending just six months in the Arctic waters, the wine exhibits a remarkable vivacity and remains in impeccable condition, owing to a gently decelerated aging process,” says Norwegian sommelier Nikolai Haram Svorte, who sampled the wine.

The sea-aged wine will be served on the cruise line in the coming months.

This isn’t the first sea- or ocean-aged wine project: The Patagonian winery Wapisa has been experimenting with underwater wine aging of 1,500 bottles of a Malbec blend at depths between six and 15 meters off the Atlantic Río Negro coast in the South Atlantic Ocean.


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