Winemakers try to speed up aging process

( - While some pay hundreds or thousands for wine that has been aged and stored for years, one winery is hoping to speed up the process and increase the bottom line.

Six months ago California wine makers, Gustavo Gonzalez and Jim Dyke, Jr., sank 96 bottles of their 2011 Mira cabernet sauvignon to the bottom of a harbor in Charleston, S.C., in an experiment to see whether wine stored under water can age faster than on land, reports CBS News' Manuel Bojorquez.

"People are desperate for ready-to-drink, really fine wine. They don't want to wait five years," Dyke said.

They were inspired partly by stories of well-preserved bottles that treasure hunters recover from shipwrecks and picked this secret location in a Charleston harbor for its consistent water temperature of 55 degrees. If this experiment works, they are hoping it will give their wine a key advantage in a $34 billion industry.

"If we can change the way an entire industry thinks about aging wine, I think that'd be a game changer," Dyke said.

Two divers worked for hours to locate the wine in the murky water.

"We're very very excited to pull this up and see," Dyke said.

It took the entire day to locate and retrieve the seven cases, but the real test came when Dyke, Gonzalez and two sommeliers conducted a blind tasting of the 2011 Mira cabernet sauvignon, one aged on land and one under water.

Their last experiment was a success. The underwater wine tasted as if it had aged two years faster than the one on land. This time, however, the group found their harbor-aged wine actually tasted younger.

Dyke and Gonzalez said it's difficult to predict the elements that affect aging underwater, such as pressure, darkness, motion, and changing temperatures.

"Those factors together somehow make a difference in the way the wine tastes. And we're not sure which factor contributes to what but it's something that we're really keen on figuring out," Gonzalez said.

Regardless of whether people think this could be a gimmick, Gonzalez said there is something to learn from experimenting.

"The important thing is that you see a difference between the two wines and almost everybody does, whether it's in the aromas, whether it's in the taste, and sometimes even the color," Gonzalez said.

Until then, it's back to the water where they'll experiment again.

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