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stirring the lees with james molesworth

Tricks of the Trade

Photo by: David Yellen

Posted: Oct 26, 2006 8:59am ET

When I asked what was the longest you’d ever gone without buying some wine, I got some really hilarious answers. My colleague James Suckling mentioned he used to have his wine delivered when his wife was out, so he could sneak it into the house. That made me think of all the tricks/excuses I’ve used to sneak some wine into the cellar.

Some of my favorites are, when a load of 5+ cases arrives, I say “Oh, this is all stuff that was ordered a while ago and they just finally shipped it.”

Or when I bought some 2000 Bordeaux, I used the “Hey, it’s for our daughter’s 21st birthday” line. Of course, whenever I pull up a bottle of it and my wife notices, I have to say “Well, we’ve got a full case and some mags, so there’s plenty. Besides, I do need to see how it’s coming along.”

Hopefully my wife is too busy this week to read this.

What are some of your ‘tricks of the trade’?

Glenn S Lucash
October 26, 2006 10:01am ET
We've agrred that when she stops buying handbags and shoes, I'll stop buying wine. Looks like I'm good to go FOREVER!!...must add codicil to my will stating even after I'm gone, if she buys shoes/handbag, my executor will buy an equal value of vino. SALUTE
Scott Creasman
Atlanta, GA —  October 26, 2006 2:57pm ET
Like Glenn there is sort of a shoes v. wine stand-off in our house - I don't say anything about the Ferragamo boxes, and she doesn't say anything about new cases of wine. Of course, I do get shipments sent to the office and sometimes don't unload the car until she is in bed...
James Molesworth
October 26, 2006 4:04pm ET
At least you two guys have a 'balance'...alas my wife is not a shop-a-holic by any stretch, so the wine purchases I make are, well, a bit out of balance...
Troy Peterson
Burbank, CA —  October 26, 2006 5:10pm ET
I procured a wine locker at a local storage facility, and only later told my wife about it. Then I found out that they were more than happy to accept delivery of my purchases and hold them in a secure area until I had time to put them in my own locker. Now I have two lockers... sigh.... and I haven't told my wife about the second one. She laments that she still doesn't know exactly how many bottles I have, and I just change the subject... quickly....
Steve Coyle
Chappaqua, NY —  October 26, 2006 5:46pm ET
Almost always. The other day I returned from a business trip and there were 6 or 8 boxes waiting for me. On the road this week and she calls to say "another wine delivery. The UPS man said 'only one box today, what happened? Did they run out of wine in California?'"I have 22 cases waiting (the result of almost a year of purchases from one of my local wine stores. Sending the wife and daughter to American Girl store so that I can get the delivery in cognito. Alas, it will be hard to pack it away quickly before they get home.I think the only reasons my wife tolerates it is (1) she likes to drink wine, and (2) it is an insurance policy against me running out of the house and not coming back again.
Tim Sylvester
Santa Monica, CA —  October 26, 2006 7:06pm ET
One trick that worked for a while was to tell her when six cases from one winery appeared that it was "for my dad and Sue [my sister]." I can't use that one any more though as when we went to my dad's place he proudly told my wife that he has no more room b/c of all that wine from his son! My current trick is to say, well a couple of guys went in on those cases, which could be interpreted to mean just about anything. Most of the time she just shakes her head and waves me through to my very full wine cellar.
Steve Lenzo
PHX, AZ —  October 26, 2006 8:14pm ET
Same here James. My wife doesn't shop much either. I employ the same tricks, wine lockers, shipments to the office. But sometimes the cat gets out of the bag. Like my recent trip to Napa.

Imagine my wifes surprise when we landed in Sacremento at 9:30 pm and I told her to watch for the bags to come out and I'll be right back. Then I show back up with a 6-Liter Bottle of Shafer Hillside 2002, OWC & all. The guy agreed to hand deliver it to me since he lived in Sacremento.

I spent 3 weeks getting my story together for that moment.
William Keene
Winston-Salem, NC —  October 26, 2006 9:31pm ET
It's not that my wife disapproves of the wine purchases, she just makes me feel guilty about spending so much of my money on wine. In an attempt to avoid the guilt trip, I have begun shipping my packages to my work address. This tactic has been helpful because my wife teaches first grade and does not have the luxury of coming home during the day. Since UPS and Fed-Ex deliver in the morning, I can sneak the packages home and load them into my cellar during my lunch break. The strategy has worked pretty well and I would recommend it to anyone who lives close to his/her office and has a working spouse. The only downside are the inevitable drinking jokes that come from coworkers.
Karl Mark
Geneva, IL. —  October 26, 2006 9:42pm ET
Currently I'm single, but this is great material for the future! Keep it comin'
Robert Petrovicz
North Vancouver,Canada —  October 27, 2006 1:36am ET
I usually start with a hand wave and the expression "these aren't the droids you're looking for"; but, as one might expect, this doesn't work that often. It's more the usual, dark nights, wrapped bottles for no noise, and deactiavting the door chime on the alarm panel. Eventually, it shows up on the table, enjoyed with family & friends, and I'm the only one wiser.
Don Mooney
Vancouver, B.C. —  October 27, 2006 5:45am ET
My lovely wife has , over the past few years, developed quite a spoiled palate without her actually knowing why. All those brilliant wines which I opened for us without telling her how pricy they were has actually paid off. Now, if ever I open a mediocre-everyday drinking wine, she makes a face. She now insists that the wines be excellent and doesn't bother me about the cost too much. Hey, I can live with that, after all, I planned it that way.....This being said, I have had to sneak in the odd Grange and the like to be opened at a later date....
William Newell
Buffalo, NY —  October 27, 2006 8:40am ET
Since New York eased its laws about interstate purchases, I've started buying from wineries that aren't generally available at retail in our area, like Peay, Renaissance, Navarro, etc., which I put away before she comes home, if possible. Sometimes my wife complains that we could have a bigger house if we drank less wine, but that's an exaggeration. She buys shoes. I buy wine. We both drink the wine, but I don't wear her shoes, so it all evens out.
Alan Vinci
springfield, n.j. —  October 27, 2006 9:06am ET
James, I have to agree with many of my fellow bloggers here, I too have a fiance who spends very little on herself- no fancy expensive shoes, no designer name handbags etc.. So I do what most of us do in this situation, I "SNEAK" the wine in!!Okay i'm not proud of it, but someone"s gotta do it. Yes I often feel guilty about trying to justify the cost and all of that, and I admit that I tend to go overboard, but that wonderful CDP I had last night made the sting of guilt much more drinkable...You know what I mean....
David A Zajac
October 27, 2006 11:26am ET
Glad to see I have plenty of company. My biggest problem is what to do with the damn boxes! She doesn't notice my addition of a few cases of wine, but as the stack of boxes keeps getting bigger and bigger and I can't seem to get rid of them fast enough, she now guages my purchases not on the number of bottles but on the number of boxes.
James Molesworth
October 27, 2006 11:40am ET
David: That's easy. I tell her the pile of boxes is 'always there', and it's in case we need to move some things one day....
Jeff Addison
Maryland —  October 27, 2006 12:51pm ET
Because of my states inane shipping laws, I am forced to order from a store in NY if I want quality and variety at a good price. Whenever I go to New York or my relatives come down, there are usually a least 3 new cases that need to find home. I've given up trying to hide it. Now I just open up the new case, pull the cork on one of the bottles and pour my wife a glass. She is usually more receptive after we've finished the bottle.
Mark Mccullough
GA —  October 27, 2006 3:12pm ET
There's some sick puppies on this blog. When your spouse asks if you're cheating on her and the first thing you think of is the wine purchases you snuck in, you know you are addicted. Is this strictly a male phenomenon? I don't see any female posts.
James Molesworth
October 27, 2006 3:29pm ET
This is from James' wife: Actually, I do notice all the boxes, and I am way too smart to believe that everything was "purchased a long time ago and is now shipping." Who do you think writes the checks for the credit card bills? But my sweet revenge is drinking all the special wines when he travels to the Rhone twice a year and leaves me at home. To all of you - WE KNOW!
James Molesworth
October 27, 2006 3:31pm ET
Note to self: disable cookies on home computer...
William Keene
Winston-Salem, NC —  October 27, 2006 4:21pm ET
I can't believe I forgot to mention the boxes in my earlier post. I bring all of them back to the office and put them into the company recycle bin. I use the company trash can for all the styrofoam inserts. I am in trouble today though. A small shipment arrived and I could not get away from the office and take them home. My cover could be blown.
James Molesworth
October 27, 2006 4:40pm ET
William: Your cover might be blown?!?!? Well, I'm sure it has nothing to do with this blog!

Well folks, I'm out of here for the weekend. Then I'm off to the Rhone on Sunday...cheers!
Steve Casella
Dallas, TX —  October 28, 2006 11:52am ET
I am currently on "time-out" from wine purchases. I know that it won't be very long because my wife enjoys shopping and consuming the wine as much as I do. Also, we are going to San Francisco later this month to visit our children and have already planned a day trip to the wine country. I am sure that a purchase or two will be made at that time.
Randy Sloan
St. Helena, CA —  October 28, 2006 1:03pm ET
Note to self: Big wine tasting next week at the Molesworth house.
Matthew
Langhorne/PA —  October 28, 2006 1:51pm ET
I have to say all of the excuses here are great though my spin on the subject is slightly different. Being a dining room manager I am constantly tasting wine. When I bring home new cases of wine I always say I'm testing it out for the new wine list...works like a charm! Slainte
Steve Barber
Clayton, CA. —  October 28, 2006 7:03pm ET
My wife has congratulated me on acquiring my second hobby at age 42. The first being golf.....anyone else raising the kids with choices? In our house it's "Golf or no T.V. your choice"! At ages 8 and 6, we won't incorporate wine for awhile. Coming home with a bottle or two now and then....like today (at Safeway) it was the St. Francis 2002 Cabernet based on last issue.....well I did volunteer to do the grocery shopping.
Freelon Hunter
Kent, Washington —  October 28, 2006 9:30pm ET
Interesting. I seem to be the only retail store wine buyer. My trick is to move the wine into the cellar in the morning, since I leave the house before anyone else is up. Obviously I don't buy wine in the summer.....My wife, being the smart woman she is, understands that the cellar is not filling up by "magic".
Jennifer Awbrey
Austin, Tx —  October 29, 2006 4:35am ET
My husband once told me that he regretted not having a stash of wine around because it was consumed faster than he could buy it. I took it to heart to create a little collection -- you just have to buy more than you consume. It's all his fault...
Steve Coyle
Chappaqua, NY —  October 30, 2006 2:33pm ET
Mission Accomplished. I got all 22 cases in this weekend before my wife and daughetr got back home. Good thing my 3 year old son didn't say "Daddy got lots and lots of wine." He kept repeating this as my salesman and I carried the wine into my ohuse. I did have to bribe my son with a new toy from the Thomas the Tank Engine series. $20 later and a Spencer engine with Tender, and I was golden.

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