In Case You Missed It: Wall Street Journal: The Wine-Dark Sea of Regulation

In Case You Missed It: Wall Street Journal: The Wine-Dark Sea of Regulation

In this morning’s Wall Street Journal, Mira Winery President Jim Dyke, Jr. takes to the opinion page to discuss the federal government’s halting of the winery’s ocean-aging experiment in Charleston S.C., which involves eight cases of Aquaoir Rutherford Cabernet – a fraction of total production.

Excerpts are below or the full story can be found here.

The Wine-Dark Sea of Regulation
We aged wine at the bottom of the ocean—then the feds threatened our license.

By Jim Dyke, Jr.

On May 27, our Napa Valley winery will pull eight cases of Cabernet Sauvignon out of Charleston Harbor in South Carolina. We placed them there six months ago, protected from the elements, following similar experiments in the past two years. The cold water and the tides seem to expedite the aging process, and we believe that our ocean-aged fine wine—which we’ve trademarked as Aquaoir—could revolutionize how vintners around the world think about winemaking. The only obstacle: the federal government.

For more than a year, our winery has been targeted by the Treasury Department, specifically, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. The agency believes our product is unfit for human consumption, despite an utter lack of evidence, and it has threatened to revoke our winemaking license. Washington doesn’t recognize this wine for what it is: the product of entrepreneurship and experimentation.

When we have requested explanation and clarification, the bureau has only referred us to the Food and Drug Administration, which has been less than forthcoming. The agency also, without warning, issued a formal public advisory in March on the dangers of ocean-aged wine.

We don’t envision expanding into vast underwater wine-storage development. We simply want to try to understand the ocean-aging effects so that we can try to simulate them on dry land. It would be lamentable if brazen federal overreach blocked the potential for innovation in an industry that could be on the cusp of a true sea change. Only in Washington could you raise a glass to that.

Read the full Op-Ed here.

About Mira
Mira Winery produces a limited amount of single vineyard wines in California from the well-known Napa Valley American Viticultural Areas (AVA), including Stags Leap District, Los Carneros and Rutherford. With over 20 years of winemaking experience, Winemaker Gustavo Gonzalez is a craftsman whose critically acclaimed wines are of exceptional character and complexity. Mira’s well-established relationships with some of the oldest and most elite growers in Napa Valley allow the winery to manage the process from bud to bottle, vinifying the grapes to maintain the characteristics of these exceptional geographies. This level of involvement in the vineyard permits Mira to produce a portfolio of uniquely luxurious wines.

Located in the historic heart of Charleston, S.C., our Napa Valley Education Center & Tasting Room provides unique access to Mira Winery and the wine industry through educational and tasting programs. Visitors relish the opportunity to experience Napa Valley and the world of winemaking through interactive displays, wine club member EduTastings, videos and a series of classes that appeals to everyone from the casual wine drinker to the savvy connoisseur. While in Charleston, be sure to visit the Napa Valley Education Center & Tasting Room at 68 ½ Queen Street.



Mira Winery, 1285 Dealy Lane Suite 201, Napa, CA 94559 United States