I am no wine conessuire. My experiences with them are limited primarily to a half glass of red wine I was coaxed to get when learning how to schmooze clients for my first public accounting job and laughing that “Fat Bastard” is an option on most wine lists. So, understanding why Chesapeake CEO Aubrey McClendon is obsessed with buying grape juice for thousands of dollar a bottle is way out of my grasp.
That isn’t going to stop me from making fun of him.
As most should remember, Mr. McClendon had a bit of trouble financially last year. In the wake of the entire economic system collapsing, it came to light that he purchased a lion’s share of his companies stock on margin. When those margin calls came in, he took a huge hit and had to sell off most of his ownership in Chesapeake to meet the cash requirements, something he had to explain to his employees. I actually do feel really bad for him until I realize that him losing 90% of his net worth still makes him fifty katrillion times richer than I ever hope to become.
And that fact that he is uber-wealthy probably explains his obsessions. I mean, you don’t see movies about guys working at McDonalds to supplement their dream of becoming captain of their college rowing team, and you certainly don’t see many gang bangers being straightened out by an opportunity to earn a lacrosse scholarship. And no one with less than a million dollars in his wallet could consider collecting wine like Aubrey.
It really is a little depressing to watch McClendon in the interview he gaveto the online wine auctioneers. His expression is bordering somewhere between a kid taking his dog to be put down at the vet and Jim Traber waiting on hold for Cal Ripken during the third hour.
Of course, it isn’t all sad. In the interview, we learn that Aubrey’s love of wine began as a high school girl drinking Boone’s Farm, and that he truly didn’t start collecting until he had his Mike Gundy-esque epiphany that at 40 he was a man who should be able to make his own wine lists when trying to woo snooty investors.
Also, there’s the whole thing about just one of his bottles fetching at least $3,700. Bid now, while you can get it that inexpensively.