According to legend, a long time ago some caskets of old wine were pulled up from a ship that had been wrecked on the seafloor for quite some time. When it was opened, the liquor had somehow matured into a unique delicious tasting drink, with its bitter notes and hard flavour softened by the magic of the sea. This discovery led to the start of the practice of deep water liquor aging, which has since become a bit of a rare, yet well-sought-after aging method by liquor companies.

The theory is that when alcohol is submerged on the seabed for a certain period of time, the fluctuation of the waves and the minerals surrounding it help the liquor to age quicker than if it were on land. Add to that the appearance of a bottle that is covered in barnacles and has been ‘roughed’ around a bit by the sea, and you end up with a vessel of alcohol with a somewhat romantic backstory.

Correctly submerging alcohol for aging is be a relatively difficult process that was once reserved for breweries and wineries, but now with the aid of Shizuoka-based Utsukushi Umi no Winery it is possible for individuals to mature their favourite alcohol down on the seafloor of Minamiizu.

As part of the service, Utsukushi Umi no Winery will take your favourite liquor of choice, waterproof it, and then mature it in their deep sea underwater storage. At a depth of 15 meters and an average water temperature of 18℃, the underwater winery environment of Utsukushi Umi no Winery is said to be perfect for storing and aging liquor.

Located just off the shore of Minamiizu’s Nagaki District, the underwater winery is within the Izu Peninsula Geopark. This location benefits greatly from the Kuroshio current, and is home to colourful, lively coral on the seafloor and a popular destination for migrating colourful fish during the summer months.

In addition to the simple act of aging your liquor in their underwater winery, Utsukushi Umi no Winery also offers two extra packages that allow customers to join the boat ride to the dive site and witness the process, or to dive down using scuba equipment and place/bring up their own bottle of liquor from the winery.

Utsukushi Umi no Winery Services

Basic Seabed Liquor Aging Service

Price: 6,600 yen
Bring your favourite bottle of liquor to Utsukushi Umi no Winery and they will waterproof it and age it at a depth of 15m for half a year for you. After the time period has passed, the bottle will be retrieved from the seafloor, and gift boxed along with an original tag from the underwater winery. The bottle can then be collected in person or shipped for an additional fee.

Seabed Liquor Aging service with boat and scuba diving witness experience

Price: 13,200 yen
This optional plan allows you to board a boat and observe the divers as they sink your alcohol down to the Utsukushi Umi no Winery seabed location.

Seabed Liquor Aging service with scuba diving experience for one person

Price: 13,200 yen
The more adventurous amongst us will enjoy this optional plan that allows you to put on some scuba diving equipment and take your very own sake down to the Utsukushi Umi no Winery yourself.
*Attendees must have a scuba diving licence
*Equipment rental fee is not included

By - Connie Sceaphierde.