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james laube's wine flights

A Suspicious Security Breach in Napa

Photo by: Greg Gorman

Posted: Jan 22, 2007 12:06pm ET

I've had a few security breaches in the past with my personal cellar.

Earlier this I year, I wrote about my then-teenage son and his buddies dipping into some of my rare, but mostly undrinkable, collectibles.

I've lost track of some prized vintages, when I've let my friends pick through the bins looking for that special bottle. I’ve also forgotten about wines I've had and wines I've given away as gifts.

But the other day, while attempting to clean out my garage (an enduring, endless, never-quite-completed endeavor), I was startled by what I found—a tiny pile of dinky pieces of cardboard and Styrofoam lying on the floor.

As I bent over for closer inspection, I saw that a corner of the cardboard box and Styrofoam, in which a double magnum of Cabernet had been packaged and stored in the garage while I was reorganizing my cellar, had been, well, eaten away.

It took me a moment to figure it out: A mouse (or mice) had nibbled through the box and insulation, no doubt needing it for a nest. (It's been cold, in the 20s and 30s overnight in Napa, for the past few weeks.)

But what bothered me the most was that the box was about ten feet from where my big, white, sharp-clawed cat sleeps.

How could that happen? A mouse munching on a cardboard-Styrofoam sandwich at night, right next to Jarvis’ twin-sized bed.

A totally unacceptable breach of security. Or was it an inside job?

Obviously the cat isn't pulling his weight. Not when a mouse can invade our fortress undetected.

Then my son suggested that maybe the mouse is gone, and that Jarvis got his man. I wonder.

John H Gruver
Moss Beach, CA —  January 22, 2007 2:03pm ET
I have several shipping boxes that have been invaded by rodents. Same story: small hole, loads of styrofoam "pellets". An added attraction is piles of bird seed sequestered in the boxes around the wine bottles. I left wild bird seed in its unopened plastic bag (well, it's opened now!) inside my garage. Apparently, those little guys can squeeze under the garage door. Sheesh!
Sussanah Nolan
Brooklyn, NY —  January 22, 2007 5:01pm ET
My suspicion?Well-fed cats have no incentive to burn a calorie chasing wino mice ; )
Kristiene Kennedy
January 22, 2007 5:28pm ET
My lower end wines which havent been in boxes for a while. But, so far. one bottle of Burgess cab, Modus, Lewelling cab and a William Hill Merlot were all breached. Nothing heartbreaking, yet. Im finding my evidence, however. on the foil. One bottle had the foil completely chewed up. "TOM", whom I had just hired in March, has been asleep on the job as well! Maybe if we let them get hammered, the Cats will be quick enough to catch them!
Greg Chitty
Houston Tx —  January 22, 2007 5:41pm ET
My wife and I have experienced a cat/ mouse problem as well. Recently a mouse ran in front of my wife inside the house and the cat just watched it go by (the cat was 2 feet away). Then our cat decided it was time to head to the food bowl. I guess cats (like humans) these days are developing more discriminating tastes than their progenitors.....
Thomas Smith
Antioch CA. —  January 22, 2007 8:04pm ET
James you may store all the wine you want at my place. I can promise the cardboard and foam will be in perfect condition,I will even check the wine to make sure its good.
James Suckling
 —  January 23, 2007 8:12am ET
Sorry James. I got thirsty one night staying over at your place last week...
Stephanie A Mcneil
winter —  January 23, 2007 1:33pm ET
Maybe,if your feline friends have a opportunity to have some of your beloved stash they might work alittle harder at protecting it.Carmelo,my personal pick for mouser of the year, LOVES CAYUSE!I might more worried about him now that I think about it.
John Gavin
CA —  January 25, 2007 10:26pm ET
Couple of years ago some rodents got into our crawlspace, where I was storing a few cases at the time. One of them chewed up the capsules of several bottles, and even munched into a few corks - one of them about 3/4 of the way down to the wine.
Paige Poulos
February 6, 2007 1:00pm ET
Petlane (www.petlane.com) has Kitty Chianti. Maybe they need to add Mousy Merlot....

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