By Bejay Browne
TWO HUNDRED and eighty bottles of Cypriot red wine were immersed in the sea at an artificial reef off Geroskipou in Paphos at the weekend, as part of a cultural programme linked to Paphos’ year as a European city of culture in 2017.
The wine will remain in place until the opening ceremony of ‘Pafos 2017’, when the town will officially hold the prestigious title, an honour it will share with Aarhus in Denmark.
“Wine and gastronomy are an important part of everyday life in Cyprus and are vital elements of our culture. The 2017 programme isn’t only about performing arts programmes, but also about the inclusion of local and important elements,” said Anastazia Anastasiou, a spokeswoman for the gastronomy team which organised the event.
Twenty five Cyprus wineries were involved in the project and provided wine for emersion, including: KEO, Vassilikon, Zambartas, Tsaggarides, Kolios, Ezousa, Kamantarena and Shoufas.
The bottles were placed in a box and sunk as part of a programme titled “Art of wine – The garden of tastes”, partly to see how the ageing process will fare underwater.
The Sommeliers Association, the Dive Centre Association and Cypriot Wine Producers all took part in the event on Saturday morning in front of 150 guests.
Mayor of Geroskipou, Michalis Pavlides, president of Pafos 2107, Christos Patsalides, and Anna Tselepou, a member of the Pafos 2017 gastronomy team gave speeches at Paphos harbour before the boat carrying the wine left for the reef.
Tselepou said that it would be interesting to see the results of ageing wine in this way, and to note any changes that occur to the composition of the wine after being submerged for 14 or so months.
“The seabed here has a constant temperature of 12°C, an ideal low-light environment, and oxygen contamination is unlikely,” she said:
Meanwhile, Patsalides said that the garden of taste programme will continue with many events planned for 2017, all aimed at highlighting this particular aspect of culture.
Pavlides said that the municipality was happy to host the event which helped to highlight the existence of the new artificial reef as an attraction for both local and foreign visitors.
Later in the day an exhibition and wine tasting at the Hamam-Paphos Old Turkish Baths saw thirteen oak wine barrels, converted into works of art by the students of the Fine and Applied Arts and Architecture Schools – Neapolis, Cyprus University of Technology, Frederick University and the University of Nicosia.
“We aim for the exhibition to travel to more locations across the island from January 2016.The works were fantastic and the artists came up with multiple uses for the barrels. Some are installations for gardens, others seats and some are more conceptual abstracts,” said Anastasiou.