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Of all the things to ruffle your armpits

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POSTED: October 2, 2012 12:00 p.m.

A friend just gave me a quart of homemade blackberry wine, vintage 2012. Another friend asked me about its bouquet. I told him it was in a quart jar, not in a flower vase.

And so I have just let you in on how much I know about wine. About all I could say was that it tastes pretty good.

That said, I just read a news story about the French being quite upset with some U.S. wine manufacturers because they want to market U.S.-produced wine in the European Union.

The story said, “Drinking a Bordeaux wine from a chateau is as French as swigging Kentucky bourbon is American.”

Apparently this idea is an affront to the French who see such marketing as an insult to their fine wines heritage. It’s as though they are saying, “You can rescue us from Hitler, but keep your wines away from our children.”

Back in 1976 there was this thing called “Judgment of Paris,” when to French astonishment, California won a major blind taste test over French wines. I just looked that up, by the way. It wasn’t something we discussed at our breakfast club.

By the way, a “blind test” doesn’t have anything to do with the fermentation tanks having lead in them. It’s about putting wine in unmarked containers for taste-testing. Either that or they blindfolded the tasters. I’m betting they just put it in unmarked containers because a bunch of people drinking wine with blindfolds on might take away the ambiance. Either that or someone might think some hoity-toities got hooted and were playing pin the tail on the donkey.

Now in winning this contest, we’re not talking about Boone’s Farm here. Out in California there are some renowned vineyards and wineries. I’ve read about them. I’ve never been there.

But I would never have thought that we could have the potential for international conflict over selling wine. Oil, yes. Fermented grape juice, no. What I mean is, you can run a car on corn whiskey but not wine. So it’s not like it can have a dual purpose and alternate energy implications. It’s mostly an ego thing I suppose.

I guess winning that “Judgment of Paris” competition really ticked off the French. You would think Americans were trying to open up body hair removal clinics in Marseilles. I can just see the head of that committee yanking his beret down over his ears and storming out of the ceremony.

The French wine experts take the position that the American wines would be sold cheaper, and the people of France would think they were getting a quality product when they were not. I guess it would be like trying to sell Tampa Nuggets in Cuba or trying to pass Spam off as top grade souse meat.

I don’t really have a dog in this fight, so I don’t give a tiny rat’s patoot what they do. Likewise, it doesn’t concern me that tequila made in Mexico sits on a shelf directly across from Jack Daniels distilled in Tennessee or that Heineken is in the same cooler with Bud Light. Green bottle, brown bottle. Big deal. It’s mostly about who’s paying for the pizza and whose big screen we’re going to watch the Super Bowl on.

I doubt this issue will make it to the U.N. But if it should, I think there is a simple solution one might suggest. Read the label folks. If it says “made in the U.S.A.,” then don’t buy it if you consider it an inferior product and an invasion of your heartland. The free market concept will do the rest.

But to the French: If you should be having wine and cheese on Omaha Beach one day and happen to stump your toe on a piece of vintage shrapnel, please don’t complain about the Yanks having littered your sand dunes. We might take that the wrong way. We could get downright huffy.

Dwaine Walden is the editor/publisher of the Moultrie Observer.

 

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