If you love wine but trailing round French vineyards or popping over to California Wine Country isn't adventurous enough for you, a trip to Croatia’s Pelješac peninsula might need to be on your radar.
The Edivo Vina winery in Drače, about an hour north of Dubrovnik, is offering visitors the chance to slip on a wetsuit for a visit to its "underwater cellars" - including bottles stored in a sunken ship at the bottom of the Mali Ston Bay.
The winery is owned by Ivo and Anto Šegović and Edi Bajurin, who take divers under the sea and explain how and why their Navis Mysterium, or "sea mystery" wine is stored this way.
Wine-making begins above ground, of course, at Edivo Vina. The grapes are harvested from the vines around Drače and aged for three months on land. They are then transferred to specially made amphorae - clay jugs, based on vessels used in Ancient Greece. They have a narrow neck and two handles, and their insides are coated with a thin layer of resin.
The amphorae are placed inside padlocked cages and lowered into the Adriatic Sea to a depth of 20 metres, where they stay for up to two years. The process gives the wine a ‘pinewood aroma’, according to its makers.
To prevent water damage, the wine is corked and covered in two layers of rubber before being submerged. Divers check in on it every 10 days, examining each submerged amphora to make sure no seawater has penetrated into the wine.
The first amphorae went underwater in 2013, but it was a three-year process to research the project. The owners believe the underwater conditions provide the perfect environment and temperature for their wine. "The sea provides natural cooling in ideal conditions and the perfect silence underwater improves the quality," they write on their website.
When the amphorae emerge they are covered in shells, barnacles and other sea life, giving them a buried treasure look, which may explain their £270 price tag.
The owners told Croatia Week that: “Guests now have the opportunity to see first-hand the whole process of wine amphorae in a space that exudes traditional details characteristic of the peninsula.”Reuse content