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Dear Dr. Vinny,

At what point would you say a person has a wine-buying addiction? I'm not asking for myself, you see. My friend—let's call him "Bob"—has been buying ten times as much as he drinks, and I, his friend, think he has a problem. Just curious.

—John W., Frankfort, Ind.

Dear John,

Hmm. Yes, you're a good friend. "Bob" has a problem, I see. I also have a friend—let's call him "Timmy." Timmy writes an advice column, and people like to write to Timmy with questions about their friends, so I asked him what he had to say.

Well, Bob might be on to something. Buying wines by the case often means a discount, and then Bob can enjoy a wine as it develops. I usually advise people like Bob to devote at least as much of their wine budget to tasting as cellaring, so that you ... er, Bob ... chooses his wines wisely. If you don't like the way a wine tastes now, you won't like it when it's older.

When does wine buying become an addiction? I guess if Bob is sitting in a home without any furniture, with his thermostat permanently set to 55 degrees, he should give Timmy a call. Because, Timmy? He's known to drink a lot of wine.

—Dr. Vinny

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