Just about everyone I know, myself included, have unintentionally started a fairly large wine collection in the last couple of years. Local retailers have confirmed that Montanans have definitely spent more money on bottles of wine since the pandemic started.

Dignified drinking? Not sure. But it's certainly a thing. Other than having a bottle or two of decent wines around  for "last minute host gifts" when invited to dinner or something, I personally have never kept much wine in the house. I used to enjoy a nice bottle with my father over a good lunch, but since his passing we obviously don't do that anymore.

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Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, however, we now have about two dozen bottles of wine in the house. We haven't become big wine connoisseurs but I do have some logical reasons for the growing collection. (Conversations with a couple of local retailers seem to confirm my assumptions.)

1. When COVID began, I was terrified there would be alcohol shortages. Laugh or judge if you must, but quite frankly it's true. If we were going to be stuck at home a lot more, I wasn't looking forward to a 100% sober lockdown. (I've joked before that most people were worried about toilet paper, while I was concerned with good pork tenderloin and booze.)

2. Wine seemed a bit more dignified to "collect" than tequila. Yeah, I stocked up on tequila too, but there were several times that my neighbors and I would share a bottle of wine from our driveways. Set up a camp chair, uncork a bottle and you've got yourself a neighborhood happy hour.

3. Now we always have a host/hostess gift when invited to a party or dinner. Even non-wine drinkers can generally agree it's nice to have a bottle or two around the house when you host parties. IMHO there's no shame in that game to serve bottles of wine that you were gifted. ESPECIALLY if you don't drink wine yourself.


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