Tales of the Obsessed

How does one measure the damage done by someone’s pursuit of their obsession?

I think inevitably it is a measure of the disregard one shows toward those other parts of the obsessed one’s life that suffer as a result of otherwise due amounts of attention being spent on the object of the obsession. This begs the questions, can any obsession be healthy and can an obsession really be termed that if the those other parts of one’s life remains intact, functioning or happy.

I think the answers are "no" and "no".

I have to bring this up because I know a fella who is going through a divorce instigated by his soon to be ex-wife. Among her complaints is "an obsession with wine and wine collecting that has disconnected him from his family and created an undue degree of debt attached to the family’s finances."


If not directly involved, one never know the true extent of claims made in the course of a filing for a divorce.  But knowing this fella as I do, it’s unlikely that the claim is untrue and it’s further unlikely that he’d ever try to deny this claim.

-He maintains two off-site wine storage facilities.
-I’ve watched him join three winery wine clubs in a single day
-He has two credit cards devoted entirely to wine purchases
-He will not drink out of anything other than Riedel and he has a different glass for every varietal
-He’s always the last person to leave a tasting
-He sold a car to pay for 2005 Bordeaux futures
-He went to Napa for last summer’s vacation, while his wife took the kids to Orlando.

I don’t know if this tale gives any of my readers pause. It did me.

In fact, it made me examine my own life to make sure my own interests are not in danger of becoming obsessions. I think we slide slowly from an "interest" to "obsession" often without even knowing it’s happening. And I think an interest in wine can be particularly prone to becoming an obsession given the variety of wines that exist and the fascination that this variety can breed.

Lesson: If you are going to start a family, make it your only obsession.

11 Responses

  1. Fredric Koeppel - April 1, 2008

    sounds like a sickness, though perhaps an enviable one.

  2. Marco - April 1, 2008

    A new OCD to be coined. I’ll have to wait until after 5 pm to come up with something. I sold my children into slavery and auctioned off my French bulldog, Aldo, but this is over the top.

  3. Morton Leslie - April 1, 2008

    I know this guy. He’s the one that comes up to my table at the tasting in a big rush, vigorously rinses out his stemless Riedel tasting glass, splashing the broshures on the table, peers in at the labels and without a word taps the wine he wants to taste. Then as I pick up the bottle to pour he pulls back the glass and shakes the last of water in the glass on whomever is standing behind him.
    I am concerned that I am the exact opposite of this fellow, apparently oppositely obsessed. I cannot fathom having my wine out of my reach. I think Wine Clubs are a scam, never buy wine on credit, and drink my wine out of a water glass. I hate public tastings, sold some ’82 Bordeaux to buy a car for my kid, and look forward to being anywhere but the Napa Valley.
    And my wife says she loves me. Go figure.

  4. Thomas Pellechia - April 1, 2008

    Your wife probably has the obsession πŸ˜‰
    Has anyone sat around with a few wine obsessives? The experience makes me want to sniff glue instead.

  5. Orion Slayer - April 1, 2008

    Thanks for the post. It helps remind me that though wine is a very interesting hobby, my family is my life.

  6. Kathleen Lisson - April 2, 2008

    I can’t even fathom buying wine that I know I’ll never drink, let alone having two off site storage facilities!
    Kathleen Lisson

  7. Melissa A. Dobson - April 2, 2008

    Wow is right!
    I’ve had to keep myself in check. I catch myself “obsessed” with wine education, magazines, blogs because I’m planning on assisting small wineries and wine public relations firms with their outreach programs, marrying two of my passions: wine and pr. However, the goal in this pursuit is to enhance my relationship with my family by maintaining a flexible schedule and financial stability while helping other families, so I hope I’m on the right track. Thank you for the reminder, Tom. Everything in moderation and family first πŸ™‚

  8. Jules - April 2, 2008

    I think I know this guy or possibly his brother. He ever bores wine people.

  9. Agent Red - April 7, 2008

    Greetings Tom, Please feel free to share my URL with your friend… πŸ˜‰

  10. Jon - April 18, 2008

    Obsessions are not inherently bad. I would consider that I have a few obsessions, but these drive me and give me amazing satisfaction in my life. In any case I prefer to call them passions, of which wine, is of course one of these.

  11. Orlando Hotels - November 9, 2009

    I know what you’re talking about.. I definitely have the shoe-obsession, especially when i’m on holiday with my family. I book my hotel through ECT and run to shop! it makes me happy though πŸ™‚

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