Drinks eco campaigning group Greenpiss has accused wine and spirit producers of ‘eco vandalism’ by ‘indiscriminately dumping’ thousands of bottles of drinks in the sea.
‘Sea ageing drinks started as an emergency measure,’ said Greenpiss CEO, Saif da Whales. ‘A way of getting rid of stuff that they couldn’t sell otherwise. But now it’s become commonplace.’
Regularly dropping untreated bottles of crap into the sea, he warned, could be ‘worse for the planet than cava.’
According to Greenpiss, uncontrolled dumping of booze into the ocean could have a serious impact on marine life with fish, crabs and even octopi at increasing risk of being squashed by stupidly heavy bottles of whisky or, worse, developing a taste for overpriced tequila.
The group also warned that adding thousands of bottles of wines and spirits to the ocean every year, could raise sea levels by three or four centimetres over the next decade.
‘It might not sound much,’ the group told Fake Booze. ‘But it could be enough to see Picpoul and Muscadet vineyards disappear under water.
‘So perhaps it’s not all bad.’
Drinks producers however were quick to defend the practice.
‘Ageing bottles in the ocean gives our Scotch fascinating new aromas,’ said Hamish McScrotum of Balbaggie Distillery.
‘Specifically strong flavours of PR with a top note of bullshit.’
Et tu Somm?
Sommelier groups, too, said they were in favour of the trend.
‘We have literally thousands of our members every week asking whether it’s possible to drop New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc off the side of a boat,’ said Pierre Tire-Bouchon of the Global Association of Sommeliers (GAS).
‘Though admittedly they have no plans to retrieve it afterwards.’
Packaging expert Ivor Newlabel said that while the science behind sea ageing might be intriguing for its effect on the liquid there were major negative side effects for the bottles themselves.
‘After a long time underwater the glass and labels are often covered in shells and barnacles,’ he told Fake Booze. ‘And no one likes to see bottles being disfigured by tenacious crusty creatures with no spine.
‘Though to be fair that hasn’t stopped producers sending out press samples down the years.’
Brave new world
The educational body the Wine and Spirit Evisceration Trust (WSET) has said that it is already looking at new ‘marine-centred’ courses.
‘There’s a whole new audience down there who are desperate to learn about wines and spirits,’ said the body’s head of brainwashing, Rote Lerning.
‘Which is handy because 95% of the land-based population now have some kind of WSET qualification.’
A spokesman for some cod yesterday said that fish generally were excited to start learning about 1970s labelling law, and denied that it was a pointless waste of time, arguing it was ‘no less use to us than it is to just about everyone else who’s sat through a Level 1 course.’
Greenpiss however remained adamant that governments should act to stop the practice of sea ageing before it is too late.
‘Ecologically, dropping bottles off the side of a ship is just a race to the bottom,’ they told Fake Booze.
‘If people want to store drinks somewhere cold and dark it would be far more eco-friendly to approach a supermarket buyer and see if they can rent out a corner of their soul.’
Click here to read about the world’s first underwater vineyard