As one of the countries that drinks the most wine in the world, Croatia knows its vino.
But now, the Balkan nation is taking it to the next level. About an hour north of Dubrovnik on the Pelješac peninsula, the country’s first underwater winery is open to visitors in the town of Drače.
Not only does Edivo Vina winery operate in this below-sea-level sanctuary, but the vintners also invite guests to dive with them and explore their process. As a bonus, visitors will even get to swim by an old sunken boat at the bottom of the Mali Ston Bay.
How’s that for a viticulture experience?
However, the process isn’t all under the sea.
The wine is first aged above ground for three months, then kept in amphorae, a specific kind of clay jug with two handles and a narrow neck, underwater for one to two years. The unique storage of these jugs gives the wine a distinct pinewood aroma, according to Lonely Planet.
While this process increases the odds of leakage, the owners have taken every precaution to prevent contamination. All of the bottles are corked, and two layers of rubber are added to prevent saltwater from leaking in—and wine from leaking out.
The amphorae are then locked in cages to prevent any unwanted divers from taking the unique brand of alcohol to go. According to the owners, the idea to age their wine in water came from the belief that “the sea provides natural cooling in ideal conditions and the perfect silence underwater improves the quality.”
If you’re not enthused about slipping into a wetsuit to see the winery for yourself, you can still shop for the bottles, which are retrieved after some 700 days, covered in corals, shells, and the like, and can be shipped straight to you. Or, you could always pop down to Italy, where the wine literally flows like water.