Interview with Emanuele Kottakhs, founder of Jamin – UnderWaterWines

Interview with Emanuele Kottakhs, founder of Jamin – UnderWaterWines

August 21, 2021 By germana

Interview with Emanuele Kottakhs, founder of Jamin – UnderWaterWines, the first Italian company that specializes in services regarding underwater wines ageing. 

Underwater wine storage it’s still a largely unknown technique, but many wine producers worldwide are becoming interested in it. What is underwater wine storage, exactly? UnderWaterWines’ scientific and revolutionary method grants an improved refinement of wine: studies show that storing wine underwater has great effects on the aging process. Sea water benefits wine storage in 4 main ways:

  • Pressure difference: immersion depth generates pressure towards the inside of the bottle, therefore improving the wine refinement process 
  • Harmonic currents: wine bottles are subjected to a perpetual rotatory movement during the aging process; sea currents can provide that same movement naturally
  • Constant temperature: wine needs constant temperature; the sea can serve as a natural climate control system
  • Lack of light: wine needs protection from UV rays; the deepness of the sea grants high sunlight filtration naturally

Jamin’s mission is to turn this niche service into a service available to every wine producers who believes in sustainability and innovation.

Let’s find out more about UnderWaterWines from our welcome guest Emanuele Kottakhs, founder of Jamin.

Hello Emanuele, and thank you for your time. Can you give our readers some more informations about the incredible innovation that is underwater wine ageing?

The world of Underwater wines is very complex, it has only few entrepreneurs globally that solely conduct experiments on their own products. And that’s when Jamin comes in: our company is focused on studying and applying underwater wine ageing through a scientific method, and our goal is to put our services at other wine producers’ disposal. Interpretations about underwater wines follow 2 main lines of thought: there’s people concerned with the “touristic” aspect, given by the way the product looks and its fascinating encrustations, and there’s people who care more about the evolution process the immersed product is subjected to, with the goal of “improving” the final stored product. These two opinions are important for granting a good experience, but the analysis aspect of our work is pretty expensive, therefore it gets initially declined. Thus, Jamin decided to collaborate with Florence’s D.a.g.r.i. University, enologists and sommeliers in order to experiment on wine storage techniques and accomplish a final performance. In our case, the pilot project started with the storage and iso-baric ageing of a sparkling wine placed – 52 m deep in our Portofino property (“Champagne Aop – 52 Underwater”). This model allowed Jamin to learn about the progression process empirically. Then, for the first time, we were able to offer said wine to our consumers – who could thereby tell the difference between underwater stored wine and traditionally stored wine – during the product’s different aging phases (12 months, 18 months, 24 months, etc.). The success we obtained inspired us to repeat our method, but, since Jamin is focused on mapping underwater wine storage techniques, in 2021 we invited Physics Doctor Gianluca Grilli, owner of the first underwater wine cave in Italy (Tenuta del Paguro, 2009), to our team. Analyzing the phase in which wine storage is initiated (during vinification, tirage or the in-bottle aging process, Jamin’s speciality) is important as well, but this wouldn’t be enough to define the results, since the vine and the initial product’s nature deliver different results, even when employing the same techniques. Even though all underwater stored products look the same, the results are not. We need to understand the product’s story and processing technique, and it’s especially crucial to go through every single experience in order to evaluate how different underwater stored wines are from traditionally stored ones.

How did the idea of Jamin come to your mind?

It all started in the Portofino promontory with 3 friends, each of them with a different expertise, but who shared the same deep love for wine. In 2010 a news article came out: in it, there was the story of an underwater shipwreck from the ‘800 that managed to preserve 168 champagne bottles, despite the 100 years that passed. Those 3 friends tried to explain how that could have been possible, and that’s when they thought of considering the deepness as an energy mass… From there, we began working on the validation of the isobaric aging process.

When did this journey start? How long did it take for you to launch your project?

We assembled Jamin at the end of 2015, and then it took us 3 years to put our theories to the test, to find a producer and the best product to experiment with. In 2019 we saw an amazing growth: we entered the world of high sommelier service and starred restaurants with our – 52 Champagne (“Portofino’s startup revolutionary underwater method”). We used that success to further finance our research and know-how. 2020 gave us a lot of time to improve our strategies and to conduct newer, heavier experimentations. So, in 2021, we opted for a public offering (equity crowdfunding) that made Jamin largely known to the Italian and international public.

What are the services you have to offer?

As I mentioned, Jamin is the first and only company focused on underwater wine and distillate storage. Our mission is stated on our Mamacrowd public offering, and is divided in 5 branches:

  1. Delivering on-brand products (also for experimentation and validation of wine storage techniques)
  2. Underwater Wine ageing for third parties (we offer wine storage services thanks to the knowledge we gained with branch 1)
  3. Consultation (administrative and technical consultation offered to whoever is interested in the sector)
  4. Distribution of UnderWaterWines (we’re the first company that offers a multi-purpose Underwater line of products, therefore we serve as the landmark of this sector)
  5. Experience and Re-evaluation of the area (underwater cellars will redefine the land; we offer a new store and accommodation model based on our franchising formula)

What’s your target audience, and what has been the feedback so far?

Our target audience is 1) final consumer and 2) wineries. In both instances we gained a solid consensus, and during our crowdfunding campaign many wine manufacturers stated that they’ll become our shareholders. The average final consumer is a professional wine lover or sommelier, who wishes for a high-quality product. Our final consumers tend to become regulars that then promote us by turning into ambassadors for our brand. Our storage policy – focused on the product’s high-quality, apart from its looks – helped us create this continuity. We target wine cellars or wine producers themselves, as well: following this summer’s campaign, they understood that our Portofino company can’t be reduced to a mere souvenir seller, because there’s hard work in what we do. Once they noticed Jamin’s resolve, wine cellars began approaching us for consultation and for our storage services aimed at third parties in order to “re-evaluate” their products. During the summer of 2021, we received a ton of requests from producers, which indicates an important victory for this sector and our mission. Our latest goal? Creating a restaurant menu of UnderWaterWines, something that we would love to do together with our clients!

Did you resort to crowdfunding in order to launch your project?

As I mentioned before, we have resorted to crowdfunding only now; the company moved its first steps exclusively thanks to the financial support from our associates. Our Lean Management model aimed at experimentation and R&D proved profitable so far, but now – with the public offering we placed on Mamacrowd – we received enough funds to catalyze the experimentation process and new research conducted with our partner University. This made the opening of new underwater cellars possible, and increased UnderWaterWines’ global reach. We foresee an auspicious 4-year period from now, a period marked by prestige and good results during which we’ll give it our all to establish Jamin’s new underwater wine storage model as a symbol of sustainability and quality worldwide.

Fun fact: favorite wine?

Any wine that manages to move me emotionally, although I have a thing for sparkling wines 😉



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