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This is a story about a shipwreck, an ocean, bottles of century-old champagne, a registered US patent, and California’s storied wine history.

It begins with a diver, a surfer, a winemaker and a Frenchman who sunk wine storage cages off the coast of Santa Barbara, California, in attempt to create the world’s first members-only underwater wine cellar and club. Only they did it without state permits, near the site of an enormous offshore oil spill five decades ago. That raised the ire of the California Coastal Commission, which accused the venture of deliberately violating the law and ordered the cages removed...

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