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There's Good Wine Problems. And Bad Ones.

I'm sure most of us would love to be in the position of the Japanese government, who recently discovered that they had too much expensive wine on their hands.

Apparently entertaining with wine is serious business if you're a Japanese diplomat. At least, that is, if you're in France or New York. Apparently the Japanese mission in France kept 7896 bottles on hand at the Ambassador's residence "just in case." Official embassy records show them serving only 289 bottles to guests last year, according to Japan Today.

Having too many bottles of wine is really only a problem if you can't drink them, which apparently was true for their New York Ambassador, who had to get rid of 198 bottles (for which they paid $24,000) because of their "deteriorated condition."

Now I don't know about you, but if I had the means to buy $24k worth of wine, I'd damn well make sure I had a wine fridge to put it in. No wonder the government auditors who discovered all this were pissed.

Of course, things could be worse. You could be (accidentally?) killing your guests with the wine you serve them.

Apparently 14 Cambodian celebrants at a spiritual ceremony to ask for protection for their children were killed after drinking rice wine tainted with toxic chemicals. Apparently the homemade wine was poured into bottles that had previously contained a poisonous herbicide. Twenty more are in the hospital. Awful.

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Required Reading for Wine Lovers

The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson Wine Grapes The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson to cork or not to cork by George Taber reading between the vines by Terry Theise adventures on the wine route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud