Kagoshima Prefecture, a region located in southwestern Japan, is experiencing economic revitalization thanks to an innovative approach by a Tokyo-based company. The company has submerged wine bottles in an undersea cellar off Amami-Oshima Island in the Oshima Strait, hoping that the aging process will draw attention and customers to the area.
The practice of underwater wine aging is not new, but the submerged conditions offer a consistent, cool temperature, higher pressure, and protection from excessive light – ideal for wine maturation. Company president Yui Moritani explained that while this process is rare in Japan, there is potential for growth and interest.
On January 30th, 2024, 500 bottles of European wine were submerged at a depth of about 20 meters off the town of Setouchi in Amami-Oshima Island. Most of the bottles will remain in the sea until June to be served to customers in July. Some bottles will be left to age for a longer period to determine the optimal maturation period for the best tasting wine.
Moritani also hopes that the undersea wine cellar will serve as an artificial reef, attracting fish and sea life such as seaweed which will absorb carbon dioxide and improve the environment. While challenges such as warmer water temperatures exist, Moritani remains optimistic about the potential for innovation and growth in this area.
In addition to boosting the local economy, Moritani plans to establish an underwater aging service for wine bottles from customers in the future. The company recently opened a local restaurant serving wine in Setouchi and hopes that their unique approach will inspire others to follow suit.
Overall, this innovative approach by Tokyo firm offers hope for reviving Kagoshima Prefecture’s economy while also promoting environmental conservation efforts through sustainable practices like underwater winemaking.