Utilizing Undersea Wine Aging to Stimulate Economy of the Southwestern Japan Island

Japanese Company Submerges Wine Bottles in Underwater Cellar off Amami-Oshima Island to Boost Local Economy and Promote Sustainable Tourism

A Tokyo-based firm is taking a groundbreaking approach to boosting the local economy in Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan. They have submerged wine bottles in an underwater cellar off Amami-Oshima Island in the Oshima Strait, hoping that the aging process will attract customers to the region.

The practice of underwater aging wine is not new, but it has gained popularity worldwide due to its unique conditions. The submerged environment provides a consistent temperature, higher pressure, and protection from sunlight, all of which are ideal for maturing wine. Yui Moritani, president of the company, explained that while this technique is rare in Japan, there is potential for growth and interest.

On January 30th, 2024, 500 bottles of European wine were placed into stainless steel cages at a depth of about 20 meters off Setouchi on Amami-Oshima Island. Most of the bottles will remain in the sea until June before being served to customers in July. Some bottles will be left to age longer to determine the optimal maturation period for the best tasting wine.

Besides economic goals, Moritani hopes that this undersea wine cellar can serve as an artificial reef that attracts fish and marine life like seaweed. This seaweed will absorb carbon dioxide and improve the environment around it. While there are some challenges associated with this project, such as warmer water temperatures during summer months, Moritani remains optimistic about its potential for innovation and growth in Kagoshima Prefecture.

In addition to their underwater aging service for clients’ own wine bottles, the company recently opened a local restaurant serving wine in Setouchi. They plan to expand their offerings by creating an underwater winery where they can produce their own wines using Japanese grapes grown locally on Amami-Oshima Island.

Moritani believes that by promoting tourism related to this unique project and highlighting Japanese culture and traditions surrounding winemaking and culinary arts, they can create a vibrant local economy that benefits both tourists and residents alike.

Overall, this innovative approach by the Tokyo-based firm highlights how investing in sustainable projects with cultural significance can lead to significant economic growth while also contributing positively to environmental conservation efforts.

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