• Thu, Nov 28 - 4:00 pm ET

TGI Thanksgiving Open Thread: Let’s Be Thankful And/Or Talk About How Crazy Our Families Are Driving Us

Keep-Calm-and-Be-Thankful-via-tinywhitedaisies.tumblr.com_It’s Thanksgiving so maybe most of you will be away from your computers – happily enjoying time with your family. If that’s the case I am super glad for you and hope you are having a fantastic day. But maybe others of you are going bat-shit crazy dealing with your relatives. I thought I’d create a little safe space to vent. 

Why do holidays make us all giant stress-monsters? If you’ve managed to avoid morphing into one of these today, do tell how. Did your kids do something super cute this morning? Is your boyfriend the best ever and doing all the cooking? Is your cat dressed up like a turkey? I’d like to hear some warm fuzzy stories.

If your family is driving you nuts we can compare notes. My mom hasn’t said anything totally inappropriate yet, but the day is young. I will be reporting back occasionally.

This year, I am kicking things off with a cocktail. Once I finish all the stuff I have to do for Mommyish, which I promised Eve I wouldn’t do drunk (just kidding – she wouldn’t care if I was drunk) I am going to mix myself my favorite holiday happy-maker – a Manhattan. I may burst into tears because this is my first holiday in a decade that I won’t be a bridge away from it’s namesake city – but that’s my own problem. Here’s my recipe for a perfect holiday Manhattan:

2 1/2 parts bourbon (Maker’s Mark is good enough)

1 part sweet vermouth

about 3 dashes bitters

Put a couple ice cubes in a cocktail shaker. Pour in the bourbon, sweet vermouth and bitters. Stir. This is a cocktail I actually agree with stirring. I like to shake the shit out most other cocktails because I like them cold, but the texture of this drink actually changes from smooth and warming to fuzzy and too cold if you shake it. Strain the drink into a chilled glass. Some people like to add a cherry, but unless you have some delicious fancy ones I wouldn’t recommend this. It’s really great to cut a bit of orange rind and gently squeeze it and rub it around the rim of your glass. Squeezing it releases the oils in the rind which will give you a lovely whiff of fresh orange before every sip.

I’m getting thirsty.

(photo: Tumblr)

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  • Jenna

    My grandmother will say approximately 50 times, “Leona means female lioness. You should’ve named her (my daughter) Leona instead. It’s a much prettier name.”

    • http://twitter.com/mariaguido Maria Guido

      Hahahaha – oh no.

    • Ptownsteveschick

      That just reminds me of a show that was on PBS with lions in a library Between The Lions(HA) and the girl lion’s name was Leona. And I really need to fill my brain with things other than song lyrics and random trivia……

  • Mel

    I bailed on my family gathering this morning. After getting a snarky email from my mother this morning it was the final straw, I lost it and bawled in the shower to the point of puffy face and bloodshot eyes. I called with a fake stomach ache and stayed home with my pets. I’ve been wondering if I would have the guts to opt out and I know I made the right call. It was chicken to lie about it, but it’s still a step! My pizza and tv have been wonderful.

    I miss the chance to see my nieces and Sis, but I get to see them lots and I’ve decided that they won’t be scarred for life by this one day when I’m not there :)

    Now, what to do with the homemade caramel pies I was supposed to take…….

    • Emmali Lucia

      Eat them all.

      I bailed on my family, too. I was supposed to go to my father’s for Thanksgiving (It would be the first time going, ever, for me due to the fact that my mother told me he was dead for my whole life, now I have four sisters and a father and a stepmother.) but sitting at the kitchen island with just my mother made me realize “Holy shit, my brother-in-law is…. just plain weird (That’s coming from me, so you know it’s true), my eldest sister tends to be really snarky, my father is very conservative (I’m a bleeding heart), and my step-mother thinks that my dietary restrictions are just some sort of phase.”

      Then when we said what we were grateful for I was like “NOT being at my father’s house!”

    • Mel

      Pie for everybody who wants a piece! They’re one of the things I do really well. Glad you didn’t have to suffer with your dad today. You don’t have to put up with their nonsense!

    • Emmali Lucia

      Exactly! We are grown-ass women and we don’t have to be around anyone we don’t want to be around in our free time.

    • Mel

      Hell yeah! It’s always easier said than done. This is the first time ever that I actually opted out. It feels so much better than I thought it would. I know there will be fallout with the family members I actually do enjoy and love, but if they love me, they’ll get on over it, right?

    • Emmali Lucia

      If they love you all you need to do is have a private sit-down and say “Look, I feel that ____ has a very toxic impact on my life, I love you and I wish I didn’t have to bail out on you, but unfortunately I just can’t be around ___, I understand that you couldn’t get out of it and I apologise but me being there wouldn’t have made ____ any more pleasant.”

      Don’t forget the “I love you”s. If you do heavy on I Love Yous and “I” statements it will be pretty hard to escalate (Not impossible though, I’ve met a ton of people who think they know they can tell you how to feel and the right and wrong way to feel about something)

    • Mel

      That’s good advice. I need to just talk to them directly instead of waiting until the next skipped gathering. The fear is that you’re not allowed to stand up for yourself with your mother unless she beats you. I don’t mean that dismissively to those who have suffered physical abuse. It’s just that there’s huge societal pressure to honor and forgive your mother for everything! But, I love them enough to have an uncomfortable convo if it means they’ll try to understand.

    • Emmali Lucia

      I understand fully, in fact I have forgiven my mother for doing some really horrible things to me growing up (She kicked me out of the house when I told her I thought I was a lesbian until I lied to her and told her that I was just kidding and straight as a pole), and the only reason we really get along is honestly because as a full-time student with a wonky class schedule I can’t afford not to, I’m hoping that one day in the very near future I will have the holidays with friends, we can group ourselves together and call ourselves the orphans and eat and drink and watch whatever the hell we want!

      And I do believe that they will understand, and if they don’t and get offended they will probably get over it within a few months at most.

    • Mel

      For financial reasons, I too will have to suck it up and make some sort of peace that I can tolerate. I just couldn’t do it today. Thanks for the advice, really. I think and hope you’re right!

    • http://twitter.com/mariaguido Maria Guido

      Opting out of a toxic holiday takes guts – good for you! Your family should understand.

    • pixie

      From what you were telling me about her yesterday, good call.
      You don’t need to deal with snark like that. :)
      Eat all the pies. Or save some for your sister and nieces next time you see them but eat the rest.

    • Mel

      Basically this morning was about xmas gifts. She shamed me on a group email b/c I admitted that I’m not able to do xmas gifts after we have the bday party for FIVE of fam members who have bdays in december. So, 5 bday gifts, then xmas for 3 neices and a nephew, then the dirty santa exchange, on top of work gift exchange, and today’s email was about adding the adults into the gifting mix. I simply do not have the money. So, instead of saying she’d just enjoy spending the time and celebrating without all of us going into debt, she accused me of being mad at the bday people and “choosing not to remember everyone at xmas this year.” It was just the final straw, I guess.

      I’m so tempted to eat the pies, but her fave passtime is body shaming everyone (including my Sis who has suffered nearly fatal eating disorders), so I worry about the extra fat! Luckily I have therapy on Monday!!

      Thanks for the support, and I hope you had a good Thanksgiving today :)

    • Emmali Lucia

      Screw the body-sham-y-ness. Maybe if it’ll make you feel better you could do a bunch of yoga/pilates/whatever workout you enjoy doing, take the dog around the block a couple of extra times like I just did to work off the turkey? Lol

    • Mel

      Well, it’s below freezing here and my dog is hairless. Probably wouldn’t be fair to drag him outside! Maybe I’ll use the upstairs bathroom instead of the one 3 feet away from the couch. Stairs are exercise, right?

    • Emmali Lucia

      Of course they are! Great exercise, too. Have you ever put him in a sweater? They have the cutest dog sweaters EVER. I always tell my friends “Why would I have a baby? I have two dogs at home, it’s like having two toddlers that will never grow out of toddler stage.”

    • Mel

      He has a better wardrobe than I do!

    • gothicgaelicgirl

      good grief… that’s a horrible thing to say.
      I have a massive family (no joke, I have so many cousins I literally cannot remember all their names)
      My brothers and I are also the youngest cousins apart from one 13 year old, so I have cousins in their 40′s.
      We all agreed not to give each other gifts but more to make something for our Christmas Family Gathering which is every year on the 28th Dec.
      I always make buttered brazil nuts and nutty chocolate clusters, my bro makes an Indonesian rice dish.
      The one time we did all get gifts was after my aunt passed away and my uncle, who has no kids, was not going to come to the reunion as he couldn’t face it so we all got him quirky little bits and stormed his house.
      I’m glad we did as he passed away a year later.

      It’s not always about gifts, family is always more important.
      The first year I was with my partner and the children, I told him right out I didn’t have a whole lot of money to get him anything.
      His response was so what?
      Let’s go out for dinner instead. Our Christmas dinner cost us a total of €25 and it’s still my favourite memory.
      We got the kids giant craft sets each, a perfume one and glitter sand one for each of the girls and a make your own finger football set for the little lad and you know something?
      I’ve never seen happier kids.

      Gifts are over-rated and focused on way too much. Family is what matters most.

    • Mel

      I’m perfectly happy to put one gift in the dirty santa exchange and just enjoy the festivities. My family, aside from Mother, is actually a ton of fun! Being told that I don’t want to remember any of them at Christmas and that I’m blaming people for having bdays in december is manipulative and cruel. It’s how she gets her way – intimidation and shame.

    • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

      My family is huge and no one could afford it anymore, so we just don’t do presents for adults. We only do them for little kids. And that’s it. Teenagers get a bag of candy or a two liter of soda. And they’re happy with that. I know that apparently you can’t get that started in your family, but I managed to do it with my in-law side. To wean them off, the first year, we did a name exchange. So, you buy one present instead of a billion. Maybe you could *try* to incorporate something smaller some year in the future when your mom isn’t being a big ol’ witch.

    • Mel

      That’s hilarious that you suggested that b/c I’ve literally done that in recent years. I’ve been pushing for presents only for the kiddos. That didn’t fly, so I suggested the name exchange for the adults, which we did and it was great. But since it wasn’t mother’s idea she hated it and made us play bingo for gifts the next year. That was not good so we did the dirty santa exchange the next year. That was really fun so we’re doing it again this year. The problem is that all of the sudden mother now wants us to make it 2 gifts each in the exchange AND do the adults in our immediate family on xmas eve in addition to the group exchange. So, it’s spinning out of control again. That’s when I reminded her that we’re going back to spending way too much and it’s 2 weeks after spending for 5 december bdays. That’s when I caught shit and was told that I was blaming the bday people and didn’t want to “remember” anyone this year. *sigh*

      I really appreciate the suggestions, tho. Great minds thinking alike here!

    • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

      This is when you have to start an alliance with some others behind her back. And yes, I plot like it’s war. :)

  • Ptownsteveschick

    I’m drinking sweet red wine with ginger ale. And I am already done for the day with family. Tomorrow we leave town to do a belated thanksgiving. I am already dreading the drive because it is probably going to be snowy and I hate driving in snow. And my parents have a dry household, so I won’t even get any wine. Is it monday yet?

    • Mel

      Be safe driving and enjoy :) Sorry about the dry household. I know the feeling. It ain’t fun. Hey, try the wine rack bra!

    • http://twitter.com/mariaguido Maria Guido

      That totally sucks.

    • Emmali Lucia

      SNEAK ALL THE WINE!!!

    • Ptownsteveschick

      Emmali! I was literally just thinking to myself, hey, I wonder where Emmali on mommyish went, I hardly ever see her comment anymore. That is how little life I have outside the internet lol, but this made my day literally.

    • Emmali Lucia

      Haha. Oh you know me, full-time college student with a soon-to-be-boyfriend.

      I’m glad to be of service! :D How have you been lately?

    • Ptownsteveschick

      Becoming one with my couch and letting my kid watch way too much tv, but digging myself out of the hole of season change depression now and starting to feel better. And eating cookies. Yummy cookies lol

    • Emmali Lucia

      Cookies are the best. And the Coastal winters are awful, it’s not even like in the big town where you can still do cool things indoors…

      Hey, hey you, goodluck on the drive. I have faith in your driving abilities. And remember, if it’s a dry house you can still go down to the corner and get the local boys to sell you Xanax. Lololol

    • Ptownsteveschick

      My sister and I might just sneak out after everyone goes to bed and hit up the bar lol, do bars have black friday sales? Ha!

    • Emmali Lucia

      Dude I wish. That would be so awesome.

      If I owned a bar I would have so many black Friday specials “Two mojitos for the price of one! And if you give me your car keys I’ll make it three!”

  • anonymous

    Just your run-of-the-mill judgmental traditional in-laws over here. SIL is about three months pregnant with her first and being a total princess about it (telling me “you’re so lucky you don’t have to deal with ALL this morning sickness. It’s AWFUL. ” knowing full well that I had a miscarriage two months ago. Rest of the family is literally fetching her drinks while she sits on the couch and complains). MIL is asking me numerous probing questions about my sister’s lesbian relationship and the child she and her wife are having soon (with not even thinly veiled disdain). FIL and BILs are sitting on their asses watching football and asking when dinner is going to be done already (and “joking” about when my 9-month-old daughter will be on kitchen duty. Seriously). Husband’s grandma is imploring me to get rid of my cats because they’ll kill the baby. And cousin asked why I’m still breastfeeding. (“You’re not going to do it till she’s three, right?”)

    I am not making this shit up. My husband keeps shooting me “I know, I’m sorry” looks. He’s dealing with his own crap, everybody busting his balls over wearing our daughter in a woven wrap while helping with dinner (BIL literally told him to grow a pair.)

    And no wine. Fuckity fuck.

    • Mel

      Wow. All that with no wine?! My sincere sympathies. Sounds like it’s nothing short of a miracle that you hubby turned out to be a decent human. That’s something to be grateful for :)

    • anonymous

      It really is something to be very thankful for! He is amazing.

    • Emmali Lucia

      Annnnd if that were me that would be the LAST holiday spent at my in-laws. Seriously have you read Maria’s article about being an adult and not having to deal with obnoxiously difficult people like that ever again?

    • Ptownsteveschick

      There’s gotta be some mouthwash or markers you can huff haha, that seriously sucks. Sounds like someone needs to feel suddenly ill and make your way home early!

    • http://twitter.com/mariaguido Maria Guido

      That sounds terrible – but your husband sounds awesome.

    • gothicgaelicgirl

      I applaud your husband for being man enough to hold his daughter in safety and comfort.
      My dad used to get flack all the time for wearing me in a baby pack on his back when he went mountain climbing.
      His two sisters told him he was “damaging” me by dragging me up cliffs. Considering my father is now 67 and still managed to climb Everest last year, I’m pretty sure I was in safe hands.
      My dad always used to say back to them- “Fresh air won’t damage her” =P

      So well done to you and your fella for keeping your cool!

  • Cee

    White people! My glob. Everything y’all cook is so rich and dense. I haven’t had dinner and I’m full with deviled eggs (first time I’ve had them) kielbasa (first time I’ve had it) bacon pinwheels (first time I’ve had it) so on and so forth. Also, your dips rock!

    I’m having Thanksgiving in the east coast (fucking COLD!) BUT my in laws whole heartedly accept my gf and I so its pretty awesome to BOTH be invited to something and not be told to leave at a certain time or have my gf not be invited and all that.

    So all in all, fat, happy and drunk. Just awkward cuz I’m pretty new :/

  • EmmaFromÉire

    Seems like on one hand Thanksgiving is great because it’s loving and wonderful and there’s a metric fuck tonne of food, but on the other hand you need to be around your family and wearing trousers for it.

    • Emmali Lucia

      You don’t -have- to wear trousers for Thanksgiving.

      I was either in my underwear or in my bathrobe all day. Auntie Emmali don’t give a shit.

      Then again, it was just my mother and I

    • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

      Nailed it.

  • JussyLee

    I spent Thanksgiving with my in-laws today. I spent all morning baking cookies to bring over and getting dressed up, but when I got there, I felt completely left out. The family is mostly doctors and nurses, so they always get absorbed talking about esoteric medical stuff. I’m extremely shy, so it’s hard for me to jump into conversations, especially in a large group. And my husband (also a nurse) was having a lot of fun talking and didn’t really notice that I needed help joining in. What hurt the most is that I’m 8 months pregnant (my husband’s and my first, and the first grandchild on both sides), and I was barely acknowledged. I was sitting there with my huge belly, yet I felt totally invisible. The whole family is so used to me being quiet, and I think they just don’t quite know what to do with me. It’s awkward and painful, and I feel like it’s all my fault because of my weak social skills.

    • Mel

      It’s totally NOT your fault. Your skills aren’t weak, they’re just different from those in your family. I’m sorry you felt left out. I chickened out, had a total nutty, couldn’t make myself be around my horrid mother, and stayed home watching tv and eating pizza all day. My Sis is way pissed that I bailed. She hosted today and prefers to be our mother’s emotional punching bag instead of opting out. I respect her choice. We have to protect ourselves the best we know how. At least you were brave enough to go!

      Huge congrats on your impending baby :) A good thing of a family full of docs is that you can be confident about always having a go-to with baby health questions. That’s something, at least.

  • Also thankful for pie, bacon

    My fiance and I couldn’t (read: didn’t feel like traveling) get back to the West Coast to see either of our families, so it is just him, myself, and the cats stuck in the MidWest. However, I bought a bunch of metal serving/storing trays and prepared everything in those so we have less than a sink-full of dishes and when the leftovers are gone we won’t have to wash any Tupperware. On top of that, I cooked only the foods we like, I never once got asked when I was going to get my ass knocked up, nobody looked at me weird when I drank bourbon from the bottle, nobody lectured me when I chased it with a swig of codeine cough syrup (and you better not either), and I didn’t even bother putting on a bra. I know we’re supposed to be bitching about our families right now, but fuck it; this year rocked. I’m thankful my dude’s job sent us to the MidWest for a few months, I’m thankful I didn’t have play referee (for my family) or therapist (for his family), I’m thankful my cats are fucking awesome, and I’m thankful that my family will still be my family tomorrow, even if I didn’t see them today.

    • Mel

      Sounds wonderful! Glad you guys did exactly what you wanted. No judgement here for the codeine. A little bourbon and codeine would have numbed the pain over here for sure :)

    • Also thankful for pie, bacon

      LOL, I’d totally share in exchange for caramel pie!

    • Mel

      Sounds like we have an accord!

  • anon

    As my mom was leaving she drops “so where are we doing Christmas Eve” (our big celebration). We suggested my house again – and she agreed. While I appreciate it, a piece of me is sad because it means those strokes she’s had are catching up – and she is not up to a house full of guests to cook for, much less clean up for or after.

    • Mel

      I’m so sorry your mom is not doing well. I’m glad you enjoyed today together and hope Christmas is lovely as well.

  • keelhaulrose

    We had a pretty normal Thanksgiving, even though there were two ‘kids’ tables, one for the actual children, and one for between 10 and 32. So I got to sit at the kids table.
    And when I brought my plate in to clean it and put it in the dishwasher I found my grandmother’s live-in caretaker at the sink, cleaning all the dishes. She took mine without even asking and washed it for me (she refused help when I offered). Nothing says ‘white guilt’ quite like the feeling of me standing there, watching an African woman cleaning up that mess of dishes.

  • EX

    I’ve been stuck in ultra-conservative, Obama-hating, in-law hell all day. I can’t even repeat the things I’ve heard today. And I’m not drinking because I’m pregnant. At least they have wifi. Which is good because I never can get cell service here.

    • Mel

      Nothing like good old-fashioned racism to really get a holiday going! Sorry about it being booze-free for ya this year, but at least it’s for a good reason.

    • EX

      Thanks for the moral support.
      Fox News has been blaring on the tv all morning. Send help.

    • Mel

      Cling to your wifi and happy thoughts. It’s the only way to fight the white noise of nonsense! Maybe you could drum up a headache and need to go lie down quietly and ALONE.

  • Jallun-Keatres

    Had my family (mom, dad, sister) and 9 of my in-laws (ages 11-21, + parents) over at my husband and my house. My mom and MIL did all the cooking so we got to relax and graze. Then I entertained everyone with my still-gestating, overdue baby going crazy inside my abdomen and we all played Charades and Mario Kart. Now we have like 8 pies in our fridge. The end. :-)

  • Tea

    We stayed home, I made fancy beef, we got obscenely drunk, and played Minecraft. Spouse-guy called his family and no one exploded or mentioned the liberal apocalypse. Then we, um… well, thanksgiving was properly traditional.

    To be honest, it would have been completely miserable if spouse-guy had driven 12 hours to go get lectured on teh gayz/liberal apocalypse/GAYZ, be called his “Friend” to way too many people, then drive 12 back and miss three days pay.

    Steak, booze, minecraft, unmentionable stuff.

    Best thanksgiving ever.

  • Jamie

    My husband’s ex took the kids on vacation, even though it’s our year to have them and there is nothing we can do about it. And then my douchebag, selfish asshole if a brother in law threw a hissy fit all afternoon when no one wanted to do what he wanted to do (play games, which normally we all love to do, just not with him!) and when my husband finally told him to knock off the bs, they got in a screaming fight that ended with bil storming out the front door (and breaking my front door decorations, btw). My sister, who is dating said bil (he’s my husband’s brother), and I proceeded to get into our own shouting match because I told her to dump his dumb ass. After they left, my mil proceeded to lecture me about needing to accept their relationship and be the bigger person because bil is faaaaaamily. I quoted Maria’s earlier post about being an adult means getting to choose the people you spend time with. The only reason I put up with him this long is because I love my sister, but I think I am done.

  • Justme

    I hosted my parents, brother (and his wife), and my husband’s mother, sister and grandmother. Things went fine…..I suppose. Except for the fact that my husband’s family (who lives five minutes away) absolutely smother my almost three-year-old. I mean, they follow her around while squealing and shrieking about everything she does. If they saw her once or twice a year it wouldn’t be so bad, but they see her at least twice a week. It’s just exhausting. They barely held a conversation with my parents that didn’t involve my daughter or the dog they just buried. My parents actually chose to stay a little past the Thanksgiving meal just so that they could have a little bit of time with my daughter without having to compete with my in-laws for my daughter’s attention.

    I know that I should be “thankful” that my daughter has so many people in her life that love and adore her, but their smothering makes me so anxious. I don’t like people hovering over me and I guess I extend that to my daughter as well. I also don’t want my daughter to believe she is the center of the universe, nor do I want her to get whatever she wants, whenever she wants it – all of which my in-laws gladly do with my daughter.

    Again…after reading some of the other entries, I know I am fairly lucky that this is my biggest problem with in-laws or family, but it doesn’t make it less annoying when I have to deal with it in my home.

  • Amber Starr

    I apologize in advance, but I had to share with everyone here….

    I found this site a few months ago when I was looking for parenting info since I was expecting my first baby on 12/5…. Well, on 11/25, I started having some cramps and by 7:30, my fiance convinced me that we should go to the hospital. I argued, but eventually gave in and we headed out shortly thereafter. We got to the hospital by 8:30 and I was having regular, steady contractions.

    Long story short, Miss Paige Noelle couldn’t wait any longer, and made her entrance into this world at 12:40 on 11/26/13. She was 6 lbs and 18 in long. She came so quickly that they couldn’t give me an epidural. I’m no hero….That part SUUUUUUUUCKED. It was the most painful, terrifying night of my life, but I would do it a thousand times over for this baby girl.

    She is perfect in every way, and we both got to be home on Thanksgiving evening, just in time for my momma to bring Allan and I some yummy leftovers to stuff into our faces while she watched the baby.

    You guys (both writers and commenters alike) helped SO much throughout my pregnancy, and I know that I will be stuck to this site like glue while I learn all the rules of new mommyhood, so thank you all from the bottom of my heart. I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving of your own. You deserve it <3

    Sorry to ramble, but I've been a little dreamy for the last few days.

    Lots of love: Amber, Allan, & Baby Paige <3

    • candyvines

      Congratulations! Paige is a lovely name :)

    • Amber Starr

      Thank you! It definitely suits her :)

    • Ptownsteveschick

      AWW BABY! Congrats! We <3 you too!!

    • Amber Starr

      Thank you so much :) I’m getting used to all this baby stuff and I love it!

  • Muggle

    Last year Mr. Squib and I decided that we would do Thanksgiving with one family, then Christmas with another. Well, this Thanksgiving was the THIRD we’ve had together where we’ve had 3 dinners (!) to go to. My older sister’s moving halfway across the country soon, so I wanted to spend time with my family. Mr. Squib just HAD to go to his family’s 2 Thanksgivings (because his parents are divorced. wheee!)

    He has to work on Christmas, so there’s another clusterfuck we’ll have to deal with.

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