Would you pay $500 dollars for a bottle of wine?

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Is a $250 bottle of wine 10 times better than a $25 bottle?

Yes, most assuredly.
8
17%
No, not at all.
21
44%
Perhaps, but I can't afford to find out.
19
40%
 
Total votes : 48

Would you pay $500 dollars for a bottle of wine?

Postby TimMc » Fri Aug 04, 2006 2:47 pm

In the San Francisco Chronicle there was a very interesting article about the high price of wine.

To wit:

Worth its weight in gold?
Why some people happily pay $500 for a bottle of wine


Linda Murphy, Chronicle Wine Editor
Thursday, August 3, 2006

Source:http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/08/03/WIGVHK6MGT1.DTL
Last edited by TimMc on Mon Aug 07, 2006 11:17 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Would you pay $500 dollars for a bottle of wine?

Postby Ian Sutton » Fri Aug 04, 2006 2:53 pm

Tim
USD500? Not yet, not even near, so I suspect not until inflation goes spiralling out of control again.

If people have the disposeable income for this then great. If they share it with friends and it's appreciated, then even better. If it's hoarded for financial gain, never to be opened, then I think that's a shame.

regards

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Re: Would you pay $500 dollars for a bottle of wine?

Postby TimMc » Fri Aug 04, 2006 3:03 pm

Ian,

$500 is the exaggerated figure used in the news story....but there are many wines being sold for $125-200 dollars.

[Note: The poll begins with $250 as it compares with $25 wine.]

I think the real issue is the so-called "supply and demand" theory is being summarily abused here, IMHO. Further, it is causing less than deserving wines to be priced at higher levels based merely upon the predication of "image" and faux quality realtive to price.


Make sense?
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Re: Would you pay $500 dollars for a bottle of wine?

Postby Ian Sutton » Fri Aug 04, 2006 3:54 pm

Tim
I think it does and I do suspect there are 100-200 dollar wines out there that are grossly overpriced. Some of these will no doubt be due to (intended) scarcity, others naive optimism (on behalf of seller and buyer).

In all businesses there are marketing driven products who's quality doesn't live up to the price/image. I'm not sure I see wine being greatly different.

The most expensive wine I've bought is a 1991 Penfolds Grange (which must be getting on for US$250), undoubtedly a class act with a great track record, but also undoubtedly one that's been hyped to the point where the value is questionable. It was bought to remind me of the wine (1986 vintage I think) that first got me into wine when I tasted it around 1990/91 (It cost around £25 / US$50 in those days). I remember thinking it was worth it, even though I previously only went up to around £6 per bottle back then. Before then I'd had some good wines and plenty of enjoyable ones, but this was the first time the wow button had been pressed.

regards

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Re: Would you pay $500 dollars for a bottle of wine?

Postby Dan Donahue » Fri Aug 04, 2006 4:38 pm

No and not even close to that. I'm interested in wines that I can enjoy with dinner, not trophies. I don't flip either, but if somehow I found myself on the screagle list I'd certainly consider the opportunity to do so.
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Re: Would you pay $500 dollars for a bottle of wine?

Postby Hoke » Fri Aug 04, 2006 4:41 pm

Tim:

I don't pay $500---or even $200-250) for bottles of wine. Not even close, I can assure you.

On the other hand, I don't get the slightest bit upset that there are bottles of wine that get sold at that price, or that people are buying them.

Why should I? If people have the money and are willing to pay it, why should that bother me (or you)?

How in the world can you "abuse" the economic concept of supply and demand? That's.....silly. And, excuse me, you don't get to determine whether a wine is "deserving" of its price: only the potential purchaser can do that.

I would suggest that your time and energies would be better spend enjoying the wine you drink rather than resenting (and envying) those wines you consider priced too high for you to be able to enjoy, or appreciate.

My way of approaching these things is somewhat simpler: I've had some of those cult wines (it's a lot easier and less painful to the pocketbook if you're ITB and you have occasion to sample them without paying for them). Some of them have been exceptionally good; some of them have been exceptionally mediocre; some of them have been astonishingly egregious examples of over-the-top winemaking. There were some I'd love to have in my private collection, but never will because they cost too much. There were some that I thought laughably priced.

But you know what? It never bothered me all that much in either case. Sure I sighed a little at the wines I would have liked to enjoy. Didn't get angy about it though.

When I was a kid, I lusted after hot cars in sequential fervor. Never got one of them, mind you, but I lusted after them. But I never got angry at that Shelby Cobra (just to give you an example) as a result; or the people who could afford them. I never scoffed at them not being worth the money. I got over it. (And many, many years later, when I could easily afford it, I got a little two-seater convertible sports car that was super fun to drive. It was an MR2 Spyder instead of an Austin-Healy 3000 Mark IV or a Lotus Esprit, mind you, but it's sure all the joy I need and it scratches my itch to perfection, while being a lot more comfortable and refined, thank you very much).

Capitalism is not fair and balanced, Tim. Never was; never wil be. But neither was socialism, or any of the other isms.

(Okay, having preached at you, I'll tell you this: All those wines you wonder about? There's not a single one that would make your life different in any significant way. You're not being denied of as much as you think you are. You can live a good and balanced and meaningful life without ever once having had a 1907 Chateau Latour. Trust me; I know. :D )
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Re: Would you pay $500 dollars for a bottle of wine?

Postby Mark Lipton » Fri Aug 04, 2006 6:17 pm

First, of all, I consider the subtitle ("Is a $250 bottle 25 times as good as a $10 bottle?") an absurd question. Even if we subscribe to the tenuous notion that quality can be quantified, why should this be the standard by which we judge whether an experience is worthwhile? Would we do the same thing by comparing the expenses of a week in Paris with those of a roadtrip to the Grand Canyon to decide whether the week in Paris is justifiable? (I'd hope not).

For the record, my answer to the titular question is "depending on circumstances, yes." The fact that those circumstances have not yet arisen in my life is but a trivial detail, no? To give an example, if I were to find an impeccably stored bottle of '61 Latour for my wife's 50th birthday in 2011 for sale for $500, I might just do it then. I don't seriously expect to find one, but I can entertain the idea without any offense to my delicate sensibilities.

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Re: Would you pay $500 dollars for a bottle of wine?

Postby Robin Garr » Fri Aug 04, 2006 6:36 pm

TimMc wrote:In the San Francisco Chronicle there was a very interesting article about the high price of wine.

To wit:

Worth its weight in gold?
Why some people happily pay $500 for a bottle of wine


Tim, for future reference, while it's not a hard rule, it's really better not to post the full content of copyrighted articles (or photos) on the forum. A hotlink, as you've done, and a short excerpt or summary in your own words clogs up the forum a little less, and protects me (and you) from the slim possibility of getting yelled at by the copyright holder.
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Re: Would you pay $500 dollars for a bottle of wine?

Postby Robin Garr » Fri Aug 04, 2006 6:44 pm

Mark Lipton wrote:First, of all, I consider the subtitle ("Is a $250 bottle 25 times as good as a $10 bottle?") an absurd question. Even if we subscribe to the tenuous notion that quality can be quantified, why should this be the standard by which we judge whether an experience is worthwhile? Would we do the same thing by comparing the expenses of a week in Paris with those of a roadtrip to the Grand Canyon to decide whether the week in Paris is justifiable? (I'd hope not).


Well said! A better question would have been, "Would YOU pay $500 for a bottle of wine?"

... if I were to find an impeccably stored bottle of '61 Latour for my wife's 50th birthday in 2011 for sale for $500, I might just do it then.


I've bought my wife two of her birth-year ports for special occasions, just because I'm still an incurable romantic after all these years. A 1948 Niepoort (opened on the eve of the Millennium) was $500, and a 1948 Kopke Colheita (for Christmas last year, a sorry-you-didn't-get-to-go present from my December trip to Portugal) was 300€.

We shared the Niepoort with good friends. We slurped up the Kopke all by ourselves. They were both worth it.
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Re: Would you pay $500 dollars for a bottle of wine?

Postby Mark Lipton » Fri Aug 04, 2006 7:21 pm

Robin Garr wrote:I've bought my wife two of her birth-year ports for special occasions, just because I'm still an incurable romantic after all these years. A 1948 Niepoort (opened on the eve of the Millennium) was $500, and a 1948 Kopke Colheita (for Christmas last year, a sorry-you-didn't-get-to-go present from my December trip to Portugal) was 300€.

We shared the Niepoort with good friends. We slurped up the Kopke all by ourselves. They were both worth it.


A man after my own heart! Since I was born in '59 and Jean in '61, birth year wines are especially attractive. To date, we've had the '59 Meyney (twice), the '61 Lynch Bages I mentioned in the other thread and a '61 Cos. All of those experiences have been with friends and all have been well worth the purchase price (albeit one less than $500).

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Re: Would you pay $500 dollars for a bottle of wine?

Postby Bob Ross » Fri Aug 04, 2006 8:06 pm

Question 1 -- Yes, most assuredly.

Question 2 -- after an hour of thought after realizing there were two questoins -- Yes, most assuredly.

Regards, Bob
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Re: Would you pay $500 dollars for a bottle of wine?

Postby TimMc » Fri Aug 04, 2006 10:25 pm

Robin Garr wrote:
TimMc wrote:In the San Francisco Chronicle there was a very interesting article about the high price of wine.

To wit:

Worth its weight in gold?
Why some people happily pay $500 for a bottle of wine


Tim, for future reference, while it's not a hard rule, it's really better not to post the full content of copyrighted articles (or photos) on the forum. A hotlink, as you've done, and a short excerpt or summary in your own words clogs up the forum a little less, and protects me (and you) from the slim possibility of getting yelled at by the copyright holder.


I appreciate that, Robin.

Bandwidth is expensive, no doubt....and I have complied with your request before, haven't I? Deleted it, as I recall.

But this was a case where the URL was not sufficient enough to persuade the "locals" on this BBS to actually read the article and understand my concern.

Rare is the time I will post an entire article like this....this was one of them.


My sincere apologies for any website difficulties.
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Re: Would you pay $500 dollars for a bottle of wine?

Postby TimMc » Fri Aug 04, 2006 10:33 pm

Ian Sutton wrote:Tim
I think it does and I do suspect there are 100-200 dollar wines out there that are grossly overpriced. Some of these will no doubt be due to (intended) scarcity, others naive optimism (on behalf of seller and buyer).

In all businesses there are marketing driven products who's quality doesn't live up to the price/image. I'm not sure I see wine being greatly different.

The most expensive wine I've bought is a 1991 Penfolds Grange (which must be getting on for US$250), undoubtedly a class act with a great track record, but also undoubtedly one that's been hyped to the point where the value is questionable. It was bought to remind me of the wine (1986 vintage I think) that first got me into wine when I tasted it around 1990/91 (It cost around £25 / US$50 in those days). I remember thinking it was worth it, even though I previously only went up to around £6 per bottle back then. Before then I'd had some good wines and plenty of enjoyable ones, but this was the first time the wow button had been pressed.

regards

Ian


Ian,

The article in question [and my personal thoughts as well] do not suggest that no wine is worth more than a C-Note [$100 bucks, American] nor am I suggesting rare wines might not be worth that sum or higher.


What I am suggesting is that wineries are pumping up their prices in an effort to make collectors buy their wine.

I am also saying that because of this the wines we "common" wine drinkers used to enjoy have become over-priced and out of reach for most of us in order to justify that increase.


Simply put, because I do not posses the paycheck to buy outlandishly priced wine does not equal a lack of wine knowledge or an appreciation for the product and, in effect, the wineries are taking a huge gamble on the desirabliity of owning their wine vs. the quality of their product by assuming that we "common" folk don't get wine.




Case and point, Your Honor: Screwcaps.



Call me spoiled.



I personally think they are creating a price structure which will eventually create their ultimate doom.
Last edited by TimMc on Sat Aug 05, 2006 1:03 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Would you pay $500 dollars for a bottle of wine?

Postby Neil Harvey » Fri Aug 04, 2006 11:40 pm

I used to but I feel within the last four years the price/value equation has gone out of whack. This price hike may be attributed in part to the surging interest to collect wines from newer markets such as China, where price means everything, and I hear India has stronger interest in high end wines now.
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Re: Would you pay $500 dollars for a bottle of wine?

Postby TimMc » Sat Aug 05, 2006 12:53 am

Mark Lipton wrote:First, of all, I consider the subtitle ("Is a $250 bottle 25 times as good as a $10 bottle?") an absurd question. Even if we subscribe to the tenuous notion that quality can be quantified, why should this be the standard by which we judge whether an experience is worthwhile? Would we do the same thing by comparing the expenses of a week in Paris with those of a roadtrip to the Grand Canyon to decide whether the week in Paris is justifiable? (I'd hope not).

For the record, my answer to the titular question is "depending on circumstances, yes." The fact that those circumstances have not yet arisen in my life is but a trivial detail, no? To give an example, if I were to find an impeccably stored bottle of '61 Latour for my wife's 50th birthday in 2011 for sale for $500, I might just do it then. I don't seriously expect to find one, but I can entertain the idea without any offense to my delicate sensibilities.

Mark Lipton


Nice.

My response would be: Then are we resigned to the unchallenged propensity of the wineries to raise prices, at will, and without concern for the consumer who, I boldly add, made them the success they are today?

All these wineries had humble or rough-start beginnings....and now they turn their backs on us consumers who supported them when they weren't selling wine at $125 bucks a crack?


I strenuously object to that.
Last edited by TimMc on Sat Aug 05, 2006 2:02 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Would you pay $500 dollars for a bottle of wine?

Postby Mark Lipton » Sat Aug 05, 2006 1:15 am

TimMc wrote:
My response would be: Then are we resigned to the unchallenged propensity of the wineries to raise prices, at will, and without concern for the consumer who, I boldly add, made them the success they are today?

All these wineries had humble or rough-start beginnings....and now they turn their backs on us consumers who supported them when they were'nt selling wine at $125 bucks a crack?


I object to that.


Need I point out that you are not addressing the question that is posed in the title? You are perhaps touching upon the question associated with the poll, but I already mentioned that I find the wording of that question fairly absurd. You are now railing against rampant price increases, a Quixotic battle at its finest it seems to me. Good luck in your battle, Tim. I too pine for the days when Caymus Cab sold for $10 a bottle and Ridge Geyserville sold for $4. I actually did buy them at those prices, but not enough damnitall. But such is hindsight, after all. I also failed to invest in Berkshire Hathaway in 1977. The problem is that these producers will charge whatever the market will bear. About the only choice we consumers have is to vote with our feet and invest our hard-earned shekels in Muscadet and Tannat. Twenty years ago I rebelled against the usurious price gouging in Bordeaux and started buying wines from the Rhone Valley. Now CNdP sells for $40+ and Cornas for $50+ so I'm learning to appreciate Bandol and Pic St. Loup and holding my breath for their precipitous price increases. Frankly, I see no end in sight, unless people start successfully growing vines on Greenland or Antarctica.

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Re: Would you pay $500 dollars for a bottle of wine?

Postby TimMc » Sat Aug 05, 2006 1:59 am

Mark Lipton wrote:
TimMc wrote:
My response would be: Then are we resigned to the unchallenged propensity of the wineries to raise prices, at will, and without concern for the consumer who, I boldly add, made them the success they are today?

All these wineries had humble or rough-start beginnings....and now they turn their backs on us consumers who supported them when they were'nt selling wine at $125 bucks a crack?


I object to that.


Need I point out that you are not addressing the question that is posed in the title?


With all due respect here, Mike...that is precisely the point of the poll and of the article I posted.


Mark Lipton wrote:You are perhaps touching upon the question associated with the poll, but I already mentioned that I find the wording of that question fairly absurd. You are now railing against rampant price increases, a Quixotic battle at its finest it seems to me. Good luck in your battle, Tim. I too pine for the days when Caymus Cab sold for $10 a bottle and Ridge Geyserville sold for $4. I actually did buy them at those prices, but not enough damnitall. But such is hindsight, after all. I also failed to invest in Berkshire Hathaway in 1977. The problem is that these producers will charge whatever the market will bear. About the only choice we consumers have is to vote with our feet and invest our hard-earned shekels in Muscadet and Tannat. Twenty years ago I rebelled against the usurious price gouging in Bordeaux and started buying wines from the Rhone Valley. Now CNdP sells for $40+ and Cornas for $50+ so I'm learning to appreciate Bandol and Pic St. Loup and holding my breath for their precipitous price increases. Frankly, I see no end in sight, unless people start successfully growing vines on Greenland or Antarctica.

Mark Lipton


Well said, Mike.

On the one hand, I agree with you...in part.

OTOH, I will fight that "Quixotic battle" whenever and wherever I can. Somebody has to be the voice of reason in the face of overwhelming greed. If no one else will stand up to the wine industry...I will.


Giving up is the greatest sin in my book, my friend.








I teach for the same reason.
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Re: Would you pay $500 dollars for a bottle of wine?

Postby Dale Williams » Sat Aug 05, 2006 12:42 pm

Mark and Hoke beat me to most of the points I would have made, that's no fun!

I can't really vote in this poll, as none of the answers are something I could justify. Certainly the best $250 bottle I've tried was better than the best $25, but I couldn't quantify it as 10X better. For that matter, I'd far rather have a $24 bottle of Tablas Creek than 4 $6 bottles of Yellowtail, but not sure how I could assert it's 4X better. But in any case it's a pretty accepted economic trusim that the marginal increase in (perceived) quality in any luxury good (and from an economic standpoint pretty much any wine over $10 is a luxury good) diminishes as one goes up the scale. True of cars, watches, AV equipment, clothing, jewelry, etc. etc.

I typically spend $8-25 for a bottle of wine, but it's certainly not unusual for me to stretch to $50. A few times a year when I have some extra cash (honoraria, tax refund, etc) I might edge over $100 for something I covet. I probably spend more (as a percentage of income) on wine than anyone I know. But anything over $150 is basically beyond my reach (with the exception of things like '86 Margaux or '83 Cheval that I purchased knowing I was splitting cost with friends). But I don't resent my friends who can spend more. Nor do I mind those friends who serve $10 Merlot (and choose to spend their money on Rolexes or Mercedes, while I drive a 10-year old Corolla and use my cellphone as a watch).

As to Robin's point re copyrighted material, it's not a question of bandwidth but of intellectual property rights.

cheers, Dale
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Re: Would you pay $500 dollars for a bottle of wine?

Postby TimMc » Sat Aug 05, 2006 1:28 pm

Dale Williams wrote: Mark and Hoke beat me to most of the points I would have made, that's no fun!

I can't really vote in this poll, as none of the answers are something I could justify. Certainly the best $250 bottle I've tried was better than the best $25, but I couldn't quantify it as 10X better. For that matter, I'd far rather have a $24 bottle of Tablas Creek than 4 $6 bottles of Yellowtail, but not sure how I could assert it's 4X better. But in any case it's a pretty accepted economic trusim that the marginal increase in (perceived) quality in any luxury good (and from an economic standpoint pretty much any wine over $10 is a luxury good) diminishes as one goes up the scale. True of cars, watches, AV equipment, clothing, jewelry, etc. etc.

I typically spend $8-25 for a bottle of wine, but it's certainly not unusual for me to stretch to $50. A few times a year when I have some extra cash (honoraria, tax refund, etc) I might edge over $100 for something I covet. I probably spend more (as a percentage of income) on wine than anyone I know. But anything over $150 is basically beyond my reach (with the exception of things like '86 Margaux or '83 Cheval that I purchased knowing I was splitting cost with friends). But I don't resent my friends who can spend more. Nor do I mind those friends who serve $10 Merlot (and choose to spend their money on Rolexes or Mercedes, while I drive a 10-year old Corolla and use my cellphone as a watch).


Good post, Dale.

I agree that often the price of the wine does [and should] reflect an increase in the quality. My "pain" threshold in wine buying tops out at $25 dollars. Occasionally, for Christmas or other special occasions, I'll pop for a wine in the $40 dollar range.

I also agree that it is a choice to spend your money on what you see as worthy. My concern is that the cost of wine is going up and IMHO it has a lot to do with the pricing of the expensive wine.


Dale Williams wrote:As to Robin's point re copyrighted material, it's not a question of bandwidth but of intellectual property rights.


I understand.

But as a teacher, I know that unless you are using copyrighted material in such a way which will bring you a profit, the educational use of it is not under the same scrutiny via the copyright laws.

Trust me....all of us teachers are going to copyright hell, so I try to be very sensitive to that on a public forum.
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Re: Would you pay $500 dollars for a bottle of wine?

Postby Rahsaan » Sun Aug 06, 2006 5:50 am

a big personality, Jayson Woodbridge -- who puts 24-karat gold flakes in his Hundred Acre Gold ($30), a blend of Chardonnay, Viognier and Gewurztraminer.


Is this serious? What does it mean? In the barrels?
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Re: Would you pay $500 dollars for a bottle of wine?

Postby Manuel Camblor » Sun Aug 06, 2006 8:24 am

My answer wold most definitely depend on the wine, the occasion and the company.

Of course, it would most probably be something old, rare and of well-established quality. What is certain is that I wouldn't pay $500 for an unproven brand that simply appears on the marketplace, all aspirational and arbitrarily priced. Pingus would have been far less insulting if it had been $20...

To paraphrase a good and very wise friend, you know we live in really strange times when the latest release of Pétrus costs the same as '21 Pétrus at auction. You know we live in even stranger times when any arriviste with a garage and some new oak barrels can make a wine and charge for it the price of '21 Pétrus.
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Re: Would you pay $500 dollars for a bottle of wine?

Postby Bob Ross » Sun Aug 06, 2006 10:42 am

"Hundred Acre Gold"

The gold flakes are a gimmick, but the wine is very nice. Here's a Tanzer note that summarizes it all quite nicely -- I tasted the 2005 and though it was delightful:

"Pale color, with flakes of gold. Captivating aromas of white peach, pineapple, mint, spring flowers and lichee. Slightly petillant, with the honeysuckle and mint qualities carrying through in the mouth. As juicy as this is, there's also a creaminess of texture and good density. Finishes quite dry and persistent, with a piquant taste of grapefruit. I was ready to dislike this wine under the faulty assumption that it was aimed at drug dealers and rogue corporate executives, but that's before I learned that it was a $25 bottle, not $75. The key to profitability here will be quantity, not high price. Woodbridge will alternate between Australian and California fruit, with a release from Australia due out in June."
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Re: Would you pay $500 dollars for a bottle of wine?

Postby David M. Bueker » Sun Aug 06, 2006 8:01 pm

TimMc wrote:But this was a case where the URL was not sufficient enough to persuade the "locals" on this BBS to actually read the article and understand my concern.



You are violating copyright (Robin is being too kind). Your need for people to read the article does not change that fact.
There behind the glass lies a real blade of grass. Be careful as you pass. Move along. Move along.
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Re: Would you pay $500 dollars for a bottle of wine?

Postby Hoke » Sun Aug 06, 2006 10:38 pm

David M. Bueker wrote:
TimMc wrote:But this was a case where the URL was not sufficient enough to persuade the "locals" on this BBS to actually read the article and understand my concern.



You are violating copyright (Robin is being too kind). Your need for people to read the article does not change that fact.


David: Well said. The Intelligent Designer save us from the self-anointed self-righteous. :wink:
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