A Bad Wine Saga Ends!
On October 15, 2005 more than 6 million bottles of wine stored at the Wine Central Warehouse in Vallejo were destroyed when Marc Anderson, a Sausalito, California business man set fire to the warehouse in order to destroy evidence of earlier crimes.
Entire inventories of wineries productions were destroyed as almost 100 wineries kept their inventories in the warehouse. In some cases, historic library collections of important California wineries were destroyed by heat damage. For the Northern California wine industry, Anderson's self-serving, desperate act was a devastating loss.
Today, under a plea agreement involving a 19 count federal indictment, Anderson pled guilty to the crime.
Now, I don't mean to suggest that this crime of arson, because it was wine that was destroyed and because I love wine, is a particularly terrible crime. I don't mean to diminish the impact of other types of crimes where lives are taken, for example. I only mean to suggest that the 20 some odd years in prison that Anderson will likely get as a result of being convicted not only of arson but also of mail fraud and tax evasion, are simply not enough.
The problem is, I have no idea what kind of prison term would be appropriate. Luckily, I'm not a judge. If it were me, I'd probably flip a coin: Heads it's life, tails it's it only until he dies.
What was shocking about this case at the time was not just the extent of the loss as the mass loss of wine became known, but the fact that this kind of cross industry loss is not often seen in the wine industry. Sometimes we hear about trucks carrying grapes tipping over on the highway. Sometimes we hear about tankers with wine crashing spilling 1000s of gallons of wine onto the highway. And occasionally you hear about a fire at a winery. You just don't' hear about 6 million bottles of wlne being destroyed.
In any case, we'll not hear much more about this story. Anderson pled guilty, he'll go to jail and the wineries that lost so much have plodded forward and done what they had to.
I just hope that those who did lose so much of what they had worked so hard to produce and preserve gain a little bit of solace from the fact that for the next 20 years Anderson will spend time sharing a shower and soap with some of the nicest guys in California. But I doubt it.
QUITTING SMOKING UPDATE—DAY 23
There's no question about it, I'm on the downslope of working through the cravings and oral fixation that has been so difficult to deal with over the past 3 weeks. Today the occasional craving to light up and inhale smoke into my lungs still over comes me. In fact, it happens at least 10 times a day. But the cravings are far less severe now and last only momentarily. In addition, when distracted, when not writing about quitting smoking but thinking about other things, I don't think about smoking at all. As I've written before, the aroma seeking nose is back. However, I'm still waiting on the flavor detecting ability of my palate to become more acute. Bottom line: with the help of drugs, patches, candy and the support of friends, readers and another very important person, I'm pretty sure I"m a non-smoker.