To hoard or not to hoard?

Do you hoard wine? I don’t. 

Yes, I collect bottles that I’m attempting to age. But no, I don’t feel that I hoard wines for general any day consumption. Weekly trips to top up on wines are something that I enjoy...and have come to miss terribly. Partly for the little conversations with the wine experts at the store. Partly because I like to try new wines. And partly because I worried that I’d increase my consumption if I didn’t need to pace myself.

When we first heard about the alcohol ban during the lockdown (initially for a period of 21 days), I felt pretty comfortable with what was already on my shelves. 24 hours before the lockdown, I succumbed to panic and ordered 6 new wines to try - wines that would keep me engaged and entertained. I was sitting pretty with my new delivery, my previous week’s usual delivery, and all the other bottles that were patiently waiting on the shelves. The thought of having to consider opening the internationals or the bottles meant for ageing barely crossed my mind.

And then the lockdown was extended by 2 more weeks. And with it came a crate-full of regrets:

  • regrets about choosing to live a more minimal lifestyle where I only purchase what I consume
  • regrets about not investing in wines by the caseload
  • regrets about not grabbing all the vodka from the shelves in those 24 hours before lockdown began (the cocktail options are endless...and vodka is my second favourite wine)

These thoughts made me ponder my sobriety.  I’ve done dry months before. I don’t drink wine everyday (325 out of 365 isn’t everyday!). I don’t consider myself dependent on alcohol. But suddenly, since the announcement of the extension, it feels like my every waking moment has been consumed by thoughts of wine:

  • how many bottles do I have?
  • will they be enough to last me through another extension?
  • will I be able to replace bottle X?
  • what is the current repurchase value of bottle Y?
  • just how sentimental are those sentimental wines?

Yet...and this may come as a surprise...I've not been drinking any more than usual in my now freer schedule. In fact, I’ve found myself drinking less wine than before. And not for lack of wine. Sure, I start earlier in the day (it’s just gone 12pm and I’ve opened up a Donkiesbaai Steen...because who’s going to stop me on this beautiful blue skied perfection of a day?), but I call it a day much earlier too. Tea in the evenings has become a soothing norm. 

Perhaps my body keeps an internal clock for the maximum hours allocated for wine consumption (far less than when I was in my twenties).

Perhaps it’s the fear of running out of wine that has me curbing my intake.

Or perhaps this lockdown on SA wine has given me an even greater appreciation for wine. For the ability to fully engage and connect with my senses - sight, smell and taste. For marvelling at a winemaker’s ability to craft and guide the grapes into complex and unique forms of drinkable art. For the escapism that wine affords us every time...but especially during these trying times.

And for that reason...I choose to continue not to hoard...for now.

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