Wednesday, 16 November 2011

"One thousand dollars a bottle?"

my father asks this morning. He is outraged.
There is a picture on the front page of our state newspaper of someone in a cellar holding out a glass of wine and, presumably, admiring the colour of it. So he should be admiring the colour of it. His winery is apparently planning on selling this little drop (or some other little drop) for a mere one thousand dollars a bottle. What is more they are planning to sell some of it to China.
My father does not drink alcohol. He does not like it. He grew up in a Presbyterian, teetotal household. He tells the story of how, one childhood Christmas, he and his brother were sent to spend an hour with the Jewish family across the road while his maternal uncles had a single glass of a particularly light beer - the only alcohol they ever consumed.
As an adult my father tasted alcohol but it was not part of the culture of the group he grew up with. Most of them also came from teetotal households. (Do not worry. They had their fun!) My father decided that the taste of alcohol was not worth the expense. He never bothered.
I am allergic to alcohol. It makes me feel itchy - as if I am being bitten by ants. That sensation is so unpleasant I avoid it. (I have other vices.)
But, if you enjoy alcohol, is paying a thousand dollars a bottle really justified? Wine is, after all, just grape juice. Yes, yes I know they have done things to it. I know that the grapes are special, that the ground they have grown in is hallowed ground, that vast expertise has gone into making sure that each specially selected grape has been crushed and fermented in just the right way. It is still grape juice - and I am an ignoramus. I am happy to remain that way.
If people want to indulge in a little alcohol and do it responsibly then that is their business. Many people get great pleasure from it and I have no right to even contemplate stopping them - not that I would want to even if I could.
What bothers me, and bothers my father is that the price of one of these one thousand dollar bottles could feed a vast number of children who need to be fed - even if you spent fifty dollars on another bottle of wine.
At what point does the cost become excessive? Some people obviously believe it is worth paying one thousand dollars a bottle. Surely there is a balance somewhere?


Sheep Rustler said...

IT is idiotic, but the people who would prepared to spend $100 on a bottleof wine would not give 1c to staving children anyway, at a guess. (And I must claim to being a wine drinker, but more like the End of Bin bottles in Dan Murphy's!)

ChickenFreak said...

To me, it would depend on where that thousand dollars went. If it was paid to several people, each of whom worked for a good wage to create that wine, and could therefore pay their rent and feed their families while doing what they loved, it would be just fine with me. If it made someone wealthy even wealthier, and didn't flow back out to make any jobs, it wouldn't be at all fine with me, especially if the people who actually made the wine were paid very little.

Not that I get a say anyway, but those would be my opinions. Expensive luxuries that are created by people working fair-paying jobs are, IMO, a good thing. The sad thing is that few expensive luxuries qualify.

Donna Hosie said...

I don't have a problem with this. High earners pay more tax which goes to help the disadvantaged. They tend to be more philanthropic as well. Live and let live. If I was wealthy, I would have luxuries too, only mine would be first edition books.