The world’s first Arctic-aged sparkling wine has been raised from the Norwegian seabed. Hurtigruten Norway & Rathfinny Wine Estate have raised 1,700 exclusive bottles after six months submerged on the Northern Norway Seabed in a top-secret wine cellar

Nikolai Haram Svorte, winner of Norway’s Best Sommelier 2023, sabres a bottle of the world’s first Arctic-water-aged sparkling wine as part of a ceremonial raising event in Sandnessjøen, Norway in celebration of Hurtigruten Norway’s 130th anniversary. (CREDIT: Kristian Dale/Hurtigruten Norway) (Image at - May 2023)In celebration of their 130th anniversary, Hurtigruten Norway has raised 1,700 bottles of the world’s first Arctic-water-aged sparkling wine from a top-secret location off the Norwegian coast.

The project known as ‘Havets Bobler’ (Bubbles from the Sea) involved partnering with the renowned Rathfinny Wine Estate in Sussex, UK. Their exclusively produced, wax sealed bottles were sunk to 34m on the famed 66 degrees north latitude – just shy of the Arctic Circle – for six months on the seabed, ahead of being served on Hurtigruten’s Coastal Express ships from this summer.

Wine experts at Hurtigruten Norway suggested that by sinking the bottles to this depth in colder waters, where the temperature averages five degrees Celsius, there was an opportunity to create the perfect conditions for storing and maturing sparkling wine. From the lack of light to increased pressure and constant low temperatures, the team involved with this world-first moment were hoping to discover the ultimate sparkling wine cellar and further understand the benefits of this unique approach.

As part of the inaugural bottle-raising ceremony, held on May 12 in Sandnessjøen, Hurtigruten invited Nikolai Haram Svorte – winner of Norway’s Best Sommelier 2023 – to be one of the first people to taste the wine.

Following a celebratory sabring of the first bottle, and after a professional sip, he commented: “This is the start of something truly exciting, and I’m really impressed! After only six months submerged in Arctic waters this method has ensured the wine remains noticeably vibrant and in great condition by delicately slowing the maturation. I’d expect to taste a rounder mouthfeel and softer bubbles, but to my surprise, the wine has retained more freshness than I anticipated! From the refreshing citrus tones to a mineral salty finish, like an oyster, it’s clear to me that this hugely intriguing experiment has revealed a unique setting to store and age sparkling wine.

As Hurtigruten look to submerge more bottles, and for much longer periods of time, I can’t wait to see what the future holds for Havets Bobler. I’ll be keeping a close eye on this project and I’m excited to hear what Hurtigruten guests think too!””

Tani Gurra, Director of Beverages at Hurtigruten Norway said: “After over a year of planning, and six months of ageing, we’re incredibly proud of this world-first moment. When we first heard about the latest innovations in ageing wine, we couldn’t resist exploring an intriguing new underwater process. Following our first conversations with Rathfinny in 2021, we fully believed these unique Arctic conditions could help create something special but ultimately it was all speculation – the last thing you want to do is spoil the wine! In the coming months, we’ll be serving the ‘Havets Bobler’ bottles as part of our Norway’s Coastal Kitchen dining experiences across our whole Coastal Express fleet. By having this unique product on board our ships, we’ll be providing a culinary experience no one else can offer. What could be a more perfect way for guests to join in with our 130th anniversary celebrations?”.

Mark Driver, Co-Owner of the Rathfinny Wine Estate said: “Our team were beyond excited to taste these exclusive wines after many months ageing on the seabed of northern Norway. We are absolutely delighted that Rathfinny’s Sussex sparkling wines will be poured on Hurtigruten ships, especially when they are sailing arguably the most beautiful coastline in the world.”