This company was forced to destroy 2,000 bottles of wine after illegally aging them in the ocean

Illegality once again plunges into the depths of the sea.

Click here to read the Spanish version.

Wine aging at the bottom of the ocean may seem utopian or surreal, but it was part of a latent reality that this California company was illegally carrying out in the waters of the Santa Barbara Channel.

Faced with the depth of this illegal consumer and environmental action, Santa Barbara County prosecutors seized and destroyed 2,000 bottles of wine involved in underwater aging that endangered both customers and marine wildlife.

According to these authorities, the wine company Ocean Fathoms deposited cases of wine on the seabed to age for a year, and end up selling them for up to $500 a bottle. An aquatic dive they began doing in 2017 with the aim that, during that time, barnacle and shell ecosystems would develop in each bottle.

The problem was that the company’s owners never received the proper permits from the California Coastal Commission or the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, making it illegal. But it doesn’t end there: they didn’t even have a permit to sell alcohol, marketing it without a business license, while exempting themselves from paying the required taxes to the state. 

The Bureau of Alcoholic Beverage Control was thus forced to confiscate all these bottles, which were labeled by the FDA as ‘unfit for human consumption‘, and destroyed them at a wastewater treatment plant in Santa Barbara. The glass bottles, adorned with all that flora and fauna, ended up dying in a recycling center.