If I enlighten you by revealing that the French Minister of Agriculture and Food, when asked about combatting unhealthy lifestyles, proclaimed his government should impart the good and the beautiful to it’s juvenility and teach them how to appreciate a glass of wine so they become proficient in comprehending its virtues, you may perhaps recognize the unceasingly state of bliss of an avid consumer like myself.
This is wonderland! Before the 1950s, French children were actually encouraged to drink wine in the school’s canteen, supposedly because alcohol kills microbes and it did at least seem to help with warming their chests.
We are undoubtedly living in a Bacchus worshipping country, where intoxication has proven to always be the elephant in the room and fuddling is never your own fault but must be blamed on one’s host or hostess, or the restaurant owner where you just had lunch or dinner and who served you wine where you undeniably asked for water, because what do you know, blink blink.
I’ve been halted numerous times by gendarmes, strategically placed along country roads to trap foreign fools like me, structurally and in an exaggeratedly animated way ignoring my rebuttal with a “Un ou deux verres, probablement?”, while frantically tapping their machine that at long last always substantiates my truth.
I’m not complaining, but it has struck me as odd that a culture where measured restraint is proclaimed king when it comes to food, literally loathing excessiveness in their national cuisine, turns a debauched blind eye to insobriety.
I suppose wine is not only French cultural heritage, but also a beloved image that must be sold nationally as well as internationally, behind which lies a multi-billion industry with a streamlined lobby. When something smells unordinary fishy, there’s usually money involved, isn’t there?
The grapes we grow at Les Pierres have regrettably never produced abundantly enough to even experiment with winemaking, with last year’s harvest as the absolute low point, because it was negligible. This year’s precise pruning has pushed out that trauma and has rekindled this alcoholic’s aspirations. If only we can beat those nasty wasps to them.