In Greek mythology, Oceanus was the god of the four waters surrounding the land. He lent his name to the seas of the world and also to a special sparkling wine of a Slovenian producer, Silvo Črnko from Jarenina near Šentilj, which has been ageing at the bottom of Piranski zaliv since 2009.
Innovative Slovenian winemakers produce high-quality wines also deep below the seabed. The Črnko family got the inspiration to build a wine cellar 18 metres underwater when their daughter was telling them a story about a trip where they had buried a bottle of sparkling wine at the bottom of the sea. They joined forces with the Fonda fish farm which is otherwise famous for excellent farmed sea bass from Piran. In early spring, six months after the grape harvest, they release to the bottom of the sea, with the help of the Fonda fish farm, several hundred bottles of the sparkling wine Beli Pinot. The Črnko sparkling wine ages first on the bottom of the sea at a favourable 12 degrees. This is the first practice of its kind in the European Union.
In addition to low temperatures with an annual fluctuation of only two degrees there are also other special factors which favourably influence the sparkling wine from the Štajerska region and, in recent years, the wines of the Brda winegrowers. The important factor is the absence of air which usually leaks through the cork into the bottle and causes oxidation. The extra dry sparkling wine with intense small bubbles, gentle aroma and flavour is constantly slightly moving with the sea’s current which makes sure that the wine doesn’t fall asleep but also doesn’t get tired.
At the beginning of October the boxes with the bottles of this exquisite Slovenian sparkling wine are pulled away from seashells, algae, corals, threadfins, tubularia and other underwater organisms. Their traces on the bottles are genuine works of art. Almost two thirds of the bottles remain untouched and can be bought directly from winemakers or tasted in selected restaurants.
With such innovative "wine cellars" Slovenian winemakers prove, time and time again, that they belong at the very top of the world’s winemakers. To a number of awards which they have received at international festivals in recent years, they are adding numerous innovations and new ways of handling the grapevine which the Slovenians always knew how to take care of. You can experience this wine creativity at various wine festivals throughout Slovenia.