Dotty LaFou

Dear Dotty: How do I handle my in-laws siphoning my wine?

(photo by Berndt Fernow, Wikimedia Commons)

Every so often, we seek the peerless knowledge of Dotty LaFou. This week, she addresses the problem of in-laws stealing one’s wine. 


Dear Dotty,

Whenever I visit my sister, I like to take a nice bottle of Coonawarra Shiraz, but her boyfriend invariably puts my bottle aside and gives me inferior wine, probably so he can later enjoy the more expensive one on his own. Any tips on how to handle this?

Wine Lover, Joondalup, WA


Dear Wine Lover,

I’m a bit of a Pimm’s girl myself. Served with cucumbers, strawberries, and a few leaves of fresh mint—well, it’s very refreshing, especially after a long day spent helping others less fortunate than myself.

The first time I had a Number 1 Cup was on my 18th birthday. I’d just finished my shift as a meter maid in Surfers Paradise helping all those silly-billy motorists who didn’t put enough money in their parking meters, and my best friend Stacy-Marie bought me one using her own birthday money, some she’d received from her granny. It was delicious and Stacy-Marie and I felt so sophisticated having such a fancy drink.

But there I go down memory lane instead of focusing on you, darling Wine Lover from Joondalup.

My late husband Edouardo was a bit of an expert on fine wine. With just one sip he could tell the difference between a cabernet sauvignon and a chateaubriand. It was marvelous really. Such a gift. He loved all types of wines and I recall him telling me his favorites were an Irish white called Ryan Riesling and a particularly delicious pinot egregiou, which I assume is Greek. He was always trying to explain wine terms to me, like tannin (that’s how they measure the amount of sunlight the grapes get) and botrytis (which is apparently some kind of disease but in a good way, if you can believe that).

It was all a bit wasted on me I’m afraid; although I don’t mind a glass of Bolly every now and then—you know, on a special occasion—but Edouardo was deadly serious about it all, even going so far as to install a cellar under the stairs in the kitchen pantry. He’s been gone a few years now. For a while I had no idea what to do with all that wine, but fortunately my son-in-law Dennis offered to take some of the older bottles off my hands which was very thoughtful of him. I often don’t give him enough credit. What a shame I didn’t know you then, darling – I’m sure you might have advised me on some of the bottles in that cellar. Maybe one day I’ll visit beautiful Joondalup and we can have a good old chinwag.

But look, dearest darling Wine Lover, I don’t need to be a wine expert to help you resolve this sticky situation. My advice is to stop taking good wine to your sister’s house for her unscrupulous boyfriend to savor behind your back. You don’t want to appear ungenerous so perhaps consider taking Pimm’s instead. If that doesn’t appeal to you, perhaps you might be interested in something I just found on the Internet while researching on your behalf: cask wine. It looks like you can buy five liters of a vintage called “dolce rosso” for well under $15. What a charming name. Your sister’s boyfriend is sure to be enchanted as he can continue to enjoy it for weeks afterwards. I really do think that’s the best solution. And economical too! Yes, the more I think about it, the more I agree with myself.

Glad to have been of help. Ta ta for now.


Dotty LaFou

Dorotéa “Dotty” LaFou began her professional life as a meter maid in Surfers Paradise where she helped motorists top up their parking meters so they could avoid being fined. This marked the beginning of a life dedicated to helping others. An advice columnist extraordinaire, she cares deeply and personally about her darling readers and is here to assist you to sort out any problems you may have, no matter how teensy they might be. If you have a question for Dotty, email and put “Ask Dotty” in the subject line.

Related posts