Winery To Experiment With 'Drunken Treasure'

Mira Winery, based in Napa Valley, is the first American winery to experiment with aging wine in the ocean. Four cases of the winery's 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon are in specially designed cages and sitting at the bottom of the Charleston Harbor; sommeliers will test the wine in three months to record any unique results.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And today's last word in business is: drunken treasure.

Some wine connoisseurs say that wine recovered from shipwrecks has a unique taste. Could be sheer age but it might be something else about the aging process at the bottom of the ocean.

JIM DYKE: The ocean providing a sort of constant motion to the wine as it sits on the bottom, pressure is different, lack of light, temperature.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Hmm, interesting. That's Jim Dyke of Mira Winery in Napa, California. He's conducting a little experiment. He just dropped four cases of his 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon into Charleston Harbor. In a few months he'll pull them up and have them clinically tested and tasted to see how they compare to wine that's aged above ground.

INSKEEP: If you're thinking this is just a wet publicity stunt, Joe Czerwinski agrees with you. He is managing editor at Wine Enthusiast magazine.

JOE CZERWINSKI: Because, you know, when you go fishing, you put your beer in the stream to keep it cold and it's pretty green in terms of being energy efficient. You're not running up generators to keep your aboveground cellar cool. So I think the idea is interesting and it has merit. I'm just not sold on the taste thing.

MONTAGNE: OK. Well, in Europe they are sold on it. Some wineries have been aging their bottles in the ocean for some time now.

INSKEEP: (Singing) Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's wine is for me.

And that's the business news on MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

MONTAGNE: And I'm Renee Montagne.

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