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The wine that is aged 20 metres under the sea off the Costa del Sol
Food and drink

The wine that is aged 20 metres under the sea off the Costa del Sol

The underwater winery takes advantage of a oyster and scallop farm to bring their red, white and sparkling wines to market

José Rodríguez Cámara

Estepona

Tuesday, 18 June 2024, 16:07

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The first winery in Spain to hold a health licence for the underwater ageing of wines is located on the Costa del Sol.

Estepona's Escaramujo Wines Submarine BioBodega gets its name from the sea creatures which attach themselves to rocks, boats, and marine life while feeding on plankton and protected by its hard, cone-shaped limestone shells. These crustaceans also stick to glass, and there are plenty at the underwater winery off the coast of Estepona.

The winery is managed by Víctor Gómez, with the project starting in 2021. It was the result of the combined interest of the entrepreneur and Palú Helder, both with underwater skills.

"I started in the world of wine just before Covid-19, it had nothing to do with my previous profession, as I come from the financial world. I was proposed to export this product to Shanghai, at a lunch, and it was like a revelation: the following Monday, I received an offer for an oenology course and here I am," Gómez said.

After familiarising himself with underwater wines with a company in the Basque Country, he came to the conclusion these wines could be a perfect commercial fit on the Costa del Sol, ideal for a type of clientele that can be found in Marbella or Sotogrande, or in neighbouring Cadiz.

The company, based in Estepona, is the first winery with a licence for underwater wine ageing

This is where Palú Helder comes into the picture, who is skilled at the breeding and cultivation of scallops. Thus, Escaramujo Wines was born, which has all the blessings "after many months of fighting with the administrations" for a new food product, which until then was not included by the Spanish Food Health Agency (Aesan), Gomez said.

Process

There is a second phase, when the bottles, sealed under special conditions that allow them to withstand the pressure underwater, come out with hundreds of living creatures attached to them. This involves a new immersion process, this time in fresh water. "The bottle, at the end, comes out only to be hosed down with water, completely clean," Gomez said.

After this process, which requires several days of diving, sparkling, white and red wines are obtained, all with unique flavours, not at all similar to those aged on land. In addition, thanks to this project, a "liking" of the marine rose hip for the glass surface has been discovered, which has been exhibited at the University of Huelva, as it had not been seen before. In addition, the scallops grow very well in boxes containing wine, as the rose hips create an ideal, clean environment for them.

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