By Eric Egan
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - A fine wine is better with age; but is it even better when it's aged under water? That's what one Napa Valley-based winery is hoping to find out in Charleston Harbor.
Mira Winery is based in Napa Valley, but the owner calls the Holy City home. That's why Charleston's harbor was selected as the testing waters for this alcoholic experiment.
Now there are four cases - a total of 48 bottles - of wine at the bottom of the harbor in an undisclosed location only the dive team can pinpoint.
From the vineyard, to the bottle to the ocean. The art of wine making just stepped up its game. Mira Winery owner Jim Dyke Jr wanted to see if putting the bottles at the bottom of the harbor would make any difference.
"We'll test the wine scientifically, but just as importantly we'll test the taste," he said.
That process with come in three months when the batch of 2009 cabernet sauvignon is pulled back to shore. For now, though, it's dozens of feet deep in specially designed crates and sealed with corks and a special wax.
Wine maker Gustave Gonzalez said he's looking forward to finding out how his creation will react to things like pressure and humidity, as well as the other effects the ocean will bring.
"The primary difference are those and the swaying motions. For some reason, I think that the swaying motion will have an effect, a rocking effect -- like babies," he said.
Maybe the underwater waves will baby the wine to just the right consistency.
Mira is the first American winery to experiment with age-testing in the ocean. Either way, as Gonzalez puts it, they won't know until they try.
"I'm not sure it will be better than what's stored on line, but I think it's definitely going to be different and what that difference is, we're interested in finding out," Gonzalez said.
So , raise a glass for the return of the grapes. The bottles will be recovered in May.
Mira Winery plans to sink more wine later this fall and keep it underwater longer, perhaps until the middle of May.