The size of his resume is only comparable to his humility, a connection that curiously enough is usually given in this form. Antonio Palacios is Cum Laude and Doctor in Biology, Specialist in Oenological Microbiology and Analytical Chemistry and Master in Viticulture and Oenology among other titles acquired during his training in more than 10 countries besides Spain.
He has more than 25 years of professional career and teaching experience in the field of winemaking, and has participated in the publication of more than 10 specialized books and nearly a hundred scientific and oenological journals. And besides this, he is the oenologist of our Crusoe Treasure Winery and, of course, one of our most important travel companions in this adventure.
You have an impressive CV in the field of winemaking, how do you get to the Crusoe Treasure project and why do you join the trip?
I started in a rather timid way and with some doubts, with many tests in between, blind tastings, expert opinions… chemical and microbiological analyses in the Excell Ibérica laboratories, where we perform very fine and precise controls, and at the end you realize that not only the marine effect exists, but it is also measurable, and these measures on chemical and also sensory parameters, eventually they convince anyone.
I succumbed to the evidence and not only succumbed, but I got on the boat as you say, because the journey is wonderful. It’s exciting, and it gives you great freedom to work with new concepts, to navigate new wine profiles, and I’m delighted to do it. It’s more than fascinating; it’s super emotional, a great challenge.
A good wine lover asks you to describe Crusoe Treasure in one sentence…
A passionate wine full of surprises, determined in large part by the biodynamics of the moon, marine energy, nature itself and the ecology of the ecosystem that makes the aging and the underwater treasuring a unique product in the world.
To whom is this unique product dedicated?
Given the effort required by the conditions to keep it underwater and all the human team involved in producing something so limited; we understand that it is aimed at lovers of difference, of the unique, passionate about the world of wine and explorers who like to discover new products, seekers of the “avis raris”.
It is aimed at wine lovers who not only see the wine inside the bottle, but also appreciate the other values of the project: ecological, human and the craftsmanship in the process.
We have consolidated our position as a winery with 8 different varieties of wine and we are still researching…
And what’s coming. We are indeed researching with a submarine txakoli aged in barrels on its own lees, from the Gorka Izagirre Winery in the Azurmendi complex, considered to be the most sustainable restaurant in the world. This is also a great innovation, because we started dipping bottles, but we also experimented with clay amphoras and oak wood barrels subjected to the process of underwater hoarding, and not only that, we even had bottles of sparkling wine doing the second fermentation under the sea, which is surprising and a dream for any producer of this type of quality wines.
We have expanded the process, we no longer just age wines, we also ferment them, surprising but true. So of course we are a company that consolidates products and also constantly innovates in the development of new winemaking proposals.
“All this makes that the biodynamics, this force of the sea, gets transmitted to the wine with a surprising organoleptic effect”
We say that Crusoe Treasure is a treasure of the sea
Nowadays, biodynamics is a process that, together with wine, is setting the trend. If there is one biodynamic that is truly measurable and has a brutal influence on the final product, it is undoubtedly the underwater treasure trove.
We cannot forget that the winery is about 20 meters under the sea. All the marine kinetics: from the waves, the current of the Bay of Plentzia, the small and fragile changes in temperature during the day and night, seasonal changes… All of this means that biodynamics, this force of life, this energy force that the sea has, is transmitted to the wine during the process of hoarding. In this case, these are chemical changes, both at the colour level, in the polymerisation of the tannins, and in the polysaccharides or polyphenols in general. This biodynamics, this force of the sea is what helps us to make something unique, with that special uniqueness and surprising organoleptic effect.
So, is Crusoe Treasure a biodynamic wine?
Yes, I would define it as biodynamic on a scientific level, measurable as we have said before, as is the case with the kinetics of marine currents, the height of waves or tides. The moon exerts an enormous influence, very visible; we all know it: the living tides, the four majestic daily tides, especially in the Bay of Biscay… All these factors are transmitted, of course, to the wine.
It is not that I am agnostic, however I like to talk about scientific biodynamics, not certified by private companies that say that certain requirements have to be met, such as horns buried in the vineyard or telluric forces of the cosmos. I like to talk about the tangible, which we can measure with dynamometers and with the measurement system of our underwater cellar, which allows us to control thermal changes or the direction and height of the waves. We have physical systems that allow us to measure all these parameters.
“If in the history of technology there are great leaps, like Louis Pasteur, in the case of winemaking it is the underwater wine”
Do we have a vanguard product in the field of winemaking?
I believe that winemaking has a long history, dating back to approximately 8,000 years before Christ, when humans began to play with grapes, with fermentation… and to observe the natural processes defined by chance itself.
If in the history of technology there are great leaps, we are talking about Louis Pasteur, for example, in the case of wine and fermentation, I would say that in the 21st century there has been another great leap forward in the world of innovation and this is the case of underwater wine.
Can you imagine a world where there was no wine?
I couldn’t imagine it anymore. Since my youth, when I started sharing wine with my friends, my family… and then in the professional environment, making wines with my own hands, which is a tremendous illusion for me to be able to do so, especially with such an incredible, complete and multidisciplinary team as Crusoe Treasure.
I am very happy to have dedicated my professional life to this field, because I like it very much and it persuades me, because it is a factor of socialization nowadays, a factor of social fluidity in human relations, in friendship, in love… I associate it to so many sub-worlds that right now for me it is essential.