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Magazine August 2020

Akènta Sub, the sparkling wine aged at the bottom of the sea

The underwater cellar on the seabed of the marine protected area in Sardinia

The world of wine is something fascinating and knowing all the work behind a wine makes it even more special and unique. One of the most unusual realities of the coasts of the Bel Paese is Akènta Sub, a sparkling wine that is cradled by the waters of the splendid Sardinian sea, where it rests in silence until it reaches its perfect harmony.

The method of aging in the sea has its roots in an ancient technique, which dates back to the Phoenician times, when wine and oil were kept and aged in the waters of the sea. The first experiments that give life to Akènta Sub begin in 2011, when the Santa Maria la Palma Winery, in collaboration with the Porto Conte Regional Park, the Capo Caccia – Isola Piana Marine Protected Area and the Blue Service Diving in Alghero, they create a territorial system for the cultivation of Vermentino grapes within the park. They decide to start refining 700 bottles of Akènta sparkling wine in an underwater cellar, deposited on the seabed of the protected marine area, to be settled by the currents of the crystal clear waters.

The experimentation was so successful that it became Akènta’s official method of production and maturation, transforming itself into Akènta Sub. Refinement at sea is not only a fascinating technique, but there are several factors that favor the refinement of wine in an underwater environment such as: temperature, humidity, pressure, movement, light and oxygen. In fact, the temperature at those depths is between 12/14 ° C constant, an optimal condition to fully preserve the aromatic profile of the wine. The pressure of 4 atmospheres in the depth of the sea favors the sealing of the corks, and avoids the pressure losses of the wine. Furthermore, the light or better, the lack of direct sunlight, protects the aromas. The lack of oxygen, on the other hand, avoids the oxidation phenomena of the wine. Another aspect of great importance is energy saving. In fact, the costs for maintaining the temperature and light are zeroed because the conditions for the maturation of the wine are completely natural. This makes the underwater cellar a real green cellar.

Akènta Sub is the product of a careful selection of Vermentino grapes, harvested by hand and sparkling according to the Charmat method. The name Akènta derives from the wish of long life used for centuries in Sardinia: a chent’annos, “a hundred years”. After vinification, the wine begins its aging process at 40 meters deep for a period ranging from 6 to 12 months inside the Underwater Cellar. When, after those months, Akènta Sub sees the light again and is poured into the glass, she tells us about her journey in a taste of a unique intensity. And he tells it not only in the glass but already from its unique packaging. In fact, during the period spent in the sea, natural incrustations are formed due to the fouling phenomenon and the work of marine organisms. These marine craftsmen create “designs”, giving each bottle a special uniqueness, making each one a unique piece.

The Underwater Cellar has an additional extraordinary feature: it is the only cellar in the world that can be visited with guided dives. It is possible, in fact, to dive 40 meters deep and swim among the crates, also visiting underwater caves in the splendid seabed of the Isola Piana Marine Protected Area, a unique experience.

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