After reading my post on Peter Mayle’s The Vintage Caper, a friend from Rosemont College, Rebeca, recommended that I read The Billionaire’s Vinegar. I had heard of this book a while ago and it was on my ever-growing list of books to read at some point in the near distant future. I decided to elevate it to the top of the list.
Benjamin Wallace is a prolific journalist who researched the controversy behind the most expensive bottle of wine. Like many writers who become a guru in their new, imposed field, Wallace continues to give talks about this topic years after the book’s release.
The most expensive bottle of wine I’ve ever had was around $100. It was a splurge for an anniversary a long time ago. Sadly, I remember nothing about the wine except that it was white and absolutely better than any wine I had ever had before. Apparently price does matter.
Now I’ll happily drink a $10 bottle of table wine. I’m not sure I would even buy a bottle of $100 wine again unless it was for an extremely important occasion. Wine is not something I’ll throw money at. (Books are a different matter.) So it is fascinating to read about people who collect expensive bottles of wine – sometimes to drink them, most times to just know they own them.
The back of the book references this mystery as “what could be the most elaborate con since the Hitler diaries.” I love a real historical mystery (and fictional ones as well, to my brother’s chagrin) so I hit the internet. In April 1983, a West German magazine called Stern printed excerpts from what were supposedly Hitler’s diaries. They were later found to be forgeries.
Bonus fact: Benjamin Wallace also has a TED video on the price of happiness. Good for him! He’s a guru now, too.