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21 October 2005

Powerball Wine?

Powerball_1I didn’t win Powerball this week. Neither did you, so I feel a little better. But Wednesday was interesting. I got three phone calls from out-of-state friends, begging me to buy them tickets here in Powerball-friendly Connecticut. One friend offered up half his winnings if he won. Another promised me a new car, and the third promised me a killer bottle of wine if he was the big winner.

A single bottle of wine? That’s it? Was he kidding?

As I stood in the Powerball line with about fifty other people who were ready to fork over their weekly paychecks, I got to thinking: What killer bottle of wine would I pick if, in fact, my cheap-o friend won? Would I "stick it to him" and request the most expensive bottle in the world (perhaps Thomas Jefferson's 1787 Lafite if it’s still around) so I could turn around and sell it purely for the money? Yeah, probably. But if I had to pick something readily available for pure drinking pleasure as opposed to collecting and selling, what would it be?

This raises the issue: Can a single bottle of wine really turn your world upside down? Would you rather dump all of your eggs into one basket instead of spreading them evenly among a few? Is a $1,000 bottle really worth four bottles valued at $250 a piece? I don’t think so, but then again, I’ve never had a thousand-dollar bottle of wine. I came pretty close once and it was pretty orgasmic, but would I turn down four bottles of 2001 Harlan Estate to experience it again? Hmmmm…Thoughts, ideas and suggestions are welcome, just in case my cheap-o friend wins the lottery someday.


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I fear expensive wine.

I suspect that the jump from $20 to $30 buys you much more than the jump from $80 to $90, and so on. I also suspect that as one becomes more familiar with wine, and learns to better appreciate it, the value of those really expensive bottles goes up, and the more expensive wine you drink, the more you appreciate it.


I think I'd rather have ten $100 bottles...or even 20 $50 bottles!

Tyler West

Overall I agree with you. I posted my response to your post on our blog, The Cave:

Jathan MacKenzie


It's a great question and one that most wine drinkers have dealt with. Actually this kind of dilemma doesn't stop with just wine.

Ex: A friend was at a Palo Alto, CA Car Dealer drooling over the exotics on the lot. A 1996 Mclaren F1 was offered at 1.9 Million, but there was also a Brand New Porsche GT Carrera for 500k. Why not buy 4 Porsche's and be done with it? Your getting newer technology with the same if not better performance. But one who buys the McClaren is doing so because of it's sentimental value, this car means something to him personally. A rare, one of a kind car that exudes class and charisma.

I think the same thing goes for wine. It's all left up to the buyer to decide what each bottle means to him. I bought a bottle of the 2001 Harlan Estate because it means something to me. Four bottles of 01 Whitehall Lane Reserve Cab would have been nice as well, I just made the choice to spend that money on one bottle instead.


Let’s see, as a chick, the only McLaren I know is Vale, but it’s cute how many guys default to car talk in wine speak (Tyler and the Ferrari, Jathan and the McLaren).

Jathan: nice analogy, but I guess the major difference is you can’t get a corked McLaren. Nothing like opening that coveted bottle of $1,000 wine and finding that the whole thing smells like wet cardboard. Now there’s a reason to fear expensive wine! I agree that a lot of it seems to be about the experience - the story you can tell to impress people, half of whom wouldn’t even know the difference between it and a bottle of Glen Ellen in a blind tasting.

Michael Tagarello

I would hate to choose just one bottle when there are so many great $100 wines, my full response is posted here

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