When one looks at commercial wine that is available to us in the US, and even our California and Long Island wines, to just briefly review what is produced in France is mind boggling. Some 7 to 8 billion bottles of wine are produced every year.
There are 56 varieties of wine grapes in France, produced in 17 regions from the German border to the borders of Italy and Spain. So you can just imagine the many varieties of wine within the many varieties.
Only 30 percent of French wine is white, and I think most people associate French wine as something red poured from a dark green bottle.
And for the French (and perhaps as a word to the wise) the experience of drinking wine is not just the wine itself, although that can be quite an experience. For the French what you have with the wine, in terms of food and personal company, can make an ordinary wine extraordinary, and that says a lot for their views on life.
As the book illustrates, had the French put in the effort to protect the Maginot Line from the Germans that they put into protecting their wine after Paris fell, they would have won the war before it began.
Nevertheless, I raise a glass to them for this story, for it highlighted how far a way of life will go to preserve itself against even brute force and near ruin.
For such history inspires in all of us the goal of a life where a glass of wine, a good meal and good company can trump our daily fears and stresses, and can leave us to our whimsical thoughts and dreams.
We only pass this way once after all.................L.S.
Wine and War: The French, the Nazis, and the Battle for France's Greatest Treasure written by the Kladstrups is available on Amazon
Photo "Wine Rack 2" by MaarteenVan Bemmel