Frank Labeyrie of Chateau du Coreau in Haux (producing wines under the Graves and Côtes de Bordeaux Cadillac AOCs) is opening the world’s first undersea cellaring service, 1000m deep in the Arachon Bay.
Named Vin Mille Lieu Sous Les Mers (in homage to Jules Verne’s book, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea) the project is due to open in 2013 and is sponsored by Michel Rolland. Labeyrie pressed ahead with the project after the successful immersion of Chareau de Coureau 08 and Blanc de Cabanes (for more information see the article Message In A Bottle in Sommeliers International).
Ageing and storing wine under water is not a new concept – Chateau Larrivet Haut Brion have been experimenting with the process recently, as have Domaine Henri Maine and ship wrecked Champagne has proved quaffable (and highly sought after).
According to the Sud Ouest newspaper Labeyrie believes that the ocean’s constant cool temperatures, zero oxygen and zero light will help the wines age slowly, so keeping intensity of fruit for longer, and deepening flavour.
The wine will be secured in reinforced stainless steel boxes, capable of withstanding pressure of up to one ton per cubic metre, secured to the ocean floor, and each equipped with cameras and a tracking device, and with a wax seal over the bottles’ original corks and capsules.
Storage will be for a maximum of 10 years, and bottles will be brought up for tasting every two years, when the owner can decide whether to continue with the cellaring or not.
Labeyrie has partnered with marine maintenance company Jifmar Offshore Services, which is jointly funding research and will provide boats and the underwater robots needed to lay down and retrieve the bottles. The ocean cellar service is expected to cost about €17 per bottle per year, with a minimum number of bottles per container.
The cellar will consist of two metal boxes placed directly on the bottom. The first is for storing 600 bottles of red and sweet wines produced by Chateau du Coureau and the second will accommodate bottles of partners and clients.
Labeyrie said that he is looking for a Champagne House, large or small, and a leading producer of rum, brandy and eau-de-vie to partner with (each to store 100 bottles). A robot will go to the site every year to change the batteries of the boxes and Labeyrie hopes to show off his undersea wines at Vinexpo 2013, which is scheduled to be held in Bordeaux.
For more information visit Vin Mille Lieu Sous Les Mers Facebook Page or contact Franck Labeyrie at firstname.lastname@example.org/ 06.03.04.14.73 or Jennifer Baricault at email@example.com.