Just like in the UK, the French population has nothing but warm feelings for its government. In 1812, when Napoleon was in the process of mobilizing his Grande Armee, taxes had already been raised to well above the nation's pain threshold.
Brooding over a way to bleed his citizens just that little bit drier, the little emperor had the luminous idea of enforcing a 'harvest tax'.


Each winegrower had to hand over two percent of their harvest to the state. That may not seem like much, but for a country that produces an annual five billion liters of wine, it's a significant chunk.
But farmers are a resourceful lot, and instead of putting up a fight, they magnanimously relinquished two percent of their grapes. But not before they had squeezed them into wine.


Napoleon's 1812 law has never been changed. To this day winemakers all over France, a wicked smile dancing across their lips, dump their leftover grape skins in a big mound at their castle gates: 'Voilà, Monsieur le Président, with compliments from the winemaker! Come and get it! Santé!'


PS: The French government indeed collects the 'lie' with big trucks and distills it for the production of, among other things, medicinal alcohol. It is not beyond belief that when I cut my finger during next year's harvest, I'll be cleaning out the cut with alcohol made from my own grapes.
A comforting thought.

Cliquez ici to go back to Slurp! 71