Watery cellars

Watery cellars

AJ Linn

Friday, 25 August 2023, 17:00

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There is nothing new under the sun and now nothing new under the sea. So, if we happen to own a bodega packed to the rafters with last year's unsold vintage, how to make space for this year's? It is not easy to find adequate storage for piling in the shiny new bottles, and in fact is every bodega's nightmare.

Should the 'old' wine be discounted or possibly rebranded in preparation for a price reduction, or maybe it is best just poured down the drain. But wait. Why not store it on the ocean floor? No rent to pay, unlimited space, and the opportunity to launch a new 'ocean-aged' brand that will hopefully have the wine critics searching for superlatives.

California-based brand Ocean Fathoms recently had 2,000 bottles of wine destroyed by the authorities and was found guilty of marketing wine from their 'sea cellar' that was illegal.

Illegal? Apparently, such submarine ageing requires the permission of the US military and the Food and Drug Administration, and while the firm charged customers California sales tax, this was not passed on to the State. The FDA advised consumers that the wine was adulterated and not fit for human consumption 'because it was submerged in the ocean and totally contaminated'.

The wines featured by Ocean Fathoms included a Chardonnay, a 2016 Domaine de la Côte Pinot Noir, and 2014 Taittinger champagne. 'The demand has never been higher,' the firm announced, adding that they would try to continue ageing wines underwater in Santa Barbara. Who wouldn't at a retail price of $500 a bottle?

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