My Side of the Fence

The danger isn't going too far. It's that we don't go far enough.

The Billionaire’s Vinegar

I just finished a book about the wine business called “The Billionaire’s Vinegar”. The book is centered around a find of 200 year-old wine that allegedly belonged to Thomas Jefferson. The author then uses this find as a starting point to go over the development of the big wine auctions and the “wine scene” in London and New York.

One of the central tales (and how the book got its name) is how Malcom Forbes bought the first of these bottles to go to auction, a 1787 Lafite, for $156,000. Significant time is also spent on the fake wine problems that the auction houses encountered.

I very much liked the book but, like anything that gives you a peek into the lives of the very priviledged, it is a bit of a culture shock. In my experience, wine tastings are always nice affairs but the book discusses incredible vertical tastings of prominent vineyards like Latour, Lafite and Petrus. I’ve had exactly one bottle of Latour and these guy are tasting several dozen in a row.

It’s a good book and the tales are interesting but not exactly a barn burner. If you’re looking for a page turner, go get thee some pulp. Maybe a Patterson…:)

1 Comment

  1. “Ready For Christmas — Yes, Manassas Stores are ready, jam-packed
    and full of exciting gifts for Christmas. Toylands and gift assortments
    are more glorious than ever! Do your Christmas shopping in Manassas!”

    A full page ad sponsored by twenty-one local stores in the Manassas
    Journal-Messenger (12-4-1952). Number still open in 2008 – zero.
    (My family even shopped at ones that were still in business when we
    came here years ago – Hibbs and Giddings, Cocke’s Pharmacy,
    Manassas Hardware and, beloved by my children, Rohr’s – home
    of the penny candy counter).

    Dynamic capitalism does a great deal of churning and it, despite
    our present dip, has created a wealthy country more full of
    opportunity than any other, but it is not without pain for those who
    get churned. We should do what we can to mitigate the troubles
    of others, but we can not stop history.

    Now, I’m off to Woodies, Garfinckels and Crown Books in my
    Rambler for some last minute shopping.

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