Organized underwater parks for aging wine bottleswill now exist in Greece, as the Ministry of Development and Investments is promoting the relevant regulatory framework by formulating the rules for their operation.

The aging of this form, which is growing internationally, was inspired by the condition of wines that have been found and recovered from shipwrecks. Many around the world wanted to take advantage of the cool environment of the sea – although aging in this way comes at a cost.

In Greece, the first attempts were made in 2009 and since then others have followed in Crete, Halkidiki, Kefalonia, Santorini, but without an institutional framework for this specific activity. Now the conditions have matured and the legislative framework of the ministry that is coming also provides for the operation of the regional wine aging marine parks, as well as their tourist exploitation.

The new framework concerns, among other things, the licensing process, the determination of the point of bottling, as well as the control and labeling of wines after the aging process is completed and is expected to be submitted to the Parliament in February. It will define as “submarine irrigation” the immersion within the Greek littoral zone at a depth between 10 and 50 meters from sea level.

A permit must be issued by the regionally competent Directorate of Agricultural Economy and Veterinary Medicine (DAOK) for wine bottles for aging. Wines aged for at least 1 year may be labeled “aged in the sea water” or “aged underwater”/”veilli dans la mer”, necessarily accompanied by the total aging period. The provisions of the law prohibit the pouring of wine in a marine area in which activities, projects or areas of public interest may be obstructed in any way.

The wines will be racked up in metal cages while the bottles will be counted and the cage will be sealed with a waterproof seal of the competent Directorate and will be scored at the designated scoring point. The scoring areas will be demarcated around the perimeter, with yellow buoys in accordance with the instructions of the Lighthouse Service, at the expense of the company concerned. In fact, an administrative fine of 5,000 to 10,000 euros is provided for the wrongful fulfillment of the above obligations by the wine company, as well as the revocation of the winemaking license.