Ocean Aging of Wine Results in Destruction, Misdemeanor Charges

What was trendy on the East Coast a couple of years ago resulted in 2,000 bottles of wine and other alcohol being destroyed In Santa Barbara, a company and in principals pleading guilty to misdemeanor charges, including violating the Water Code for illegally discharging material into the waters  of the United States, selling alcohol without a license and aiding and abetting investor fraud.

The District Attorney's Office said the two men began sinking crates of wine one mile off the coast of Santa Barbara with required permits from the California Coastal Commission and the Army Corps of Engineers.

Each crate was left on the sea floor for one year, long enough for a reef system to develop in and on the crates and bottles and then removed, and sold for as much as $500 a bottle.

The FDA considered the wine adulterated, and not fit for human consumption due to potential contamination while submerged.  None of the wine had any TTB-approved labels, and the company was collecting sales tax from its customers without paying those taxes to the State of California.

The company, Ocean Fathoms, also claimed a portion of its profits was going to a Santa Barbara environmental group, but no evidence of a donation was found.

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