Is it simply because he’s rich and famous?
Several months ago, Johny Depp’s former business manager responding to a lawsuit with the actor, released details on his spending habits that were bizarre even by eccentric celebrity standards. In the accounts, it was revealed that the Pirates of the Caribbean star spent a cool $3 million to blast his friend Hunter S. Thompson’s ashes out of a cannon, is trying to connect his five adjacent homes via an underground tunnel, and spends $30,000 per month on wine.
The latter is of particular interest because while the former two expenses are “quirky” (if not ridiculously expensive), spending $1,000 per day on wine sure sounds like the behavior of an addict.
So why isn’t it being treated as such in the media?
How and why is $30,000 per month branded a “habit” or an “expenditure” or a lifestyle choice, rather than, more bluntly, a sign of alcoholism?
That question is re-posed somewhat in the WSJ article by first asking if $30,000 is a lot to spend on wine, which, of course it is. But for someone of Depp’s wealth with a taste for wine collecting and, presumably, wine consumption, that expense isn’t particularly notable. In fact, it’s possible that his habit, while objectively ridiculous, isn’t particularly noteworthy.
To the most prominent question of whether this behavior’s indicative of an alcohol addiction, the answer is...probably not. We don’t have a transactional log of Johnny Depp’s wine acquisition and consumption, but he’s gone on record as saying among his favorite wines are “Pétrus [and] Château Cheval-Blanc,” with the former clocking in at $2,500 a bottle, according to Vice.
So that would be about 12 bottles per month which, even if it was all for personal consumption (which it’s likely not) shakes out to about two glasses per day. Hardly a binge. According to the article, a three-litre bottle of the Cheval-Blanc sold for $135,000, which is roughly a third of his annual budget right there. So, he likes really expensive wine, and the gaudy price tag of his purchases don’t necessarily equate to a lot of it. There are certainly more convincing arguments to be made on that front.
The question of whether it’s a compulsive purchase or shopping addiction is hard to address because, since we don’t know what he does with his wine, be it drinking, storing, or gifting, it’s hard to tell what his motivation is.
And while $360,000 per year is, plainly put, a lot of money, it’s not much for a guy who’s made $300 million from the Pirates franchise. In fact, $360,000 per year isn’t even a lot of money among wine collectors who earn far less. Spokesperson Brad Goldstein shot down the attempt to shame Depp with his revelation, saying, “Bill Koch sold a case of 1945 Mouton Rothschild at auction last year for $400,000.” He continued, saying if Mr. Depp’s agents were “trying to show excess, they’re in the wrong place.”
Again, these statements are all very relative, but when you consider the price of the product and Mr. Depp’s astronomical wealth, it does appear, on the surface, to be a “habit” more than a compulsion or addiction.