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And you thought Aubrey McClendon’s infatuation with soda was strange…

7:00 AM EST on February 6, 2009


Well, I guess if you ever see Aubrey McClendon at Byron's purchasing a large bottle of Riunite you'll now have an explanation. From the Wall Street Journal Wealth Report, via The NewsOK Business Blog:

Even though the market for collectible wines is slumping, Sotheby's recently announced it will sell off 9,000 bottles in two auctions in March and April. The sale is titled "Classic Cellar from a Great American Collector."...

According to three people familiar with the auction, the seller is Aubrey McClendon, chief executive of Chesapeake Energy. These people say at least one other broker kicked the tires on Mr. McClendon's collection before it went to Sotheby's.

Mr. McClendon is one of the top wine collectors in the country, known for his love of Burgundy and Bordeaux. He also is known for his cash crunch. Last fall, he was forced to sell 94% of his stake in Chesapeake to pay back margin loans. Mr. McClendon's stake once was valued at more than $2 billion. So it wouldn't be surprising if he were to want to liquidate some of his, er, liquid assets.

Mr. McClendon, through a spokesman, didn't respond to a request for comment.

Sotheby's says it expects the sale to fetch at least $5 million-not much for a former billionaire, but these days every little million helps.

Dear God, I can see how someone could spend $5-million drinking wine, but collecting it... that's insane!  Seriously, how in the world do you leave that much wine lying around in a cellar?   Hell, I can't even keep two unopened bottles in my house without drinking one of them.  If I had 9,000 bottles of wine I'd just probably swim in them like Scrooge McDuck swims in his vault of gold coins.

Also, now that Aubrey is having to sell his excessive and extravagant wine collection, I'm wondering what the future holds for his soda museum "Pops." That place has to be a money pit. Who between the ages of 21 and 50 really wants to drive out to Arcadia to drink a bottle of Sarsaparilla, eat some overpriced food and get some gas?  If I was Dean Blevins, I would say there is a 43% chance that Pops will close within a couple of years. If was Dean Blevins, I'd also fall down a lot.

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