Consumer Temptations

Hello, my name is Olivia, and I am battling an addiction. It is a new addiction, one I'm still feeling out. It will hopefully settle down to simply one of my "things," a hobby, a pleasure, even a passion, but for now it remains dangerous, a little racy. We have known each other a surprisingly long time, wine and I, but more on the level of an acquaintance or casual dinner companion. Recently, we've been getting to know each other better. I think I'm in love. I still don't really know that much about it, but we have plenty of time for that. What I do know is that I want to buy it things: food, proper glasses, a nice place to rest. Sick, you're thinking, all this passion for some fermented grapes in a bottle. The problem gets worse. I've moved beyond just buying nice things for the wine. In the last few weeks, every time I have found a wine I like, I want to buy it too. And not just a bottle, no no. Lots of bottles. This review of a late harvest Tokaj led to a quest all the way out to the Sunset for the last eight bottles. Two are already gone. Last week's "Drink Small" dinner at Manresa, focusing on small-production wines, has left me desperately fighting the urge to go stock up on the 2004 CrauforD “Highlander” Sauvignon Blanc from Napa Valley and the 2001 Campion “Firepeak Vineyard Pinot Noir from Edna Valley. It's even harder knowing that the lowest price on the Campion is at the winery and that they will give you 20% off on a case with a subscription to their newsletter. No matter that it would still raise our average bottle price--how can we pass up such a good deal knowing that soon there won't be any left? The purchase is even more compelling when said case would necessitate a day trip to Napa with a bit of tasting and lunch at Pilar.I haven't actually gone crazy, at least not totally, and it's not that I've suddenly become a huge glutton. Rather, I want enough of the wines I like so that I need not be sad with each bottle gone. I enjoy sharing a bottle without greed. I like being able to give friends the gift of a wine that I know is good. I relish the anticipation of opening a familiar bottle to savor with a meal made perfectly to match. You can see why I'm in trouble.Our new wine cellar only holds 46 bottles. Although we had considered something that would hold a few hundred bottles, we barely had enough to fill this unit when we bought it and feared that the opportunity presented by more open space--you have to build up enough thermal mass to keep the temperature constant, after all--would perhaps, be dangerous. On top of that, we rarely drink more than two bottles in an average week, so even with a small cellar we have plenty to last us until the next great find. We hoped that limited capacity might act as a deterrent to the onset of a full-blown wine obsession. I wrote my thesis on deterrence (though not in the realm of consumer temptations and disposable income); you would think I might have known better.Addictions, obsessions, love--whichever this turns out to be--rarely listen to reason. I am still high on the excitement of the small collection we bought to finish stocking our new cellar and some fantastic wines we have tried recently. It's still early, but this may be a long ride, so let me just get this out of the way now: Hello, my name is Olivia, and I am battling an addiction.