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Wine and War

The French, the Nazis, and the Battle for France's Greatest Treasure

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Description

The remarkable untold story of France’s courageous, clever vinters who protected and rescued the country’s most treasured commodity from German plunder during World War II.

"To be a Frenchman means to fight for your country and its wine."
–Claude Terrail, owner, Restaurant La Tour d’Argent

In 1940, France fell to the Nazis and almost immediately the German army began a campaign of pillaging one of the assets the French hold most dear: their wine. Like others in the French Resistance, winemakers mobilized to oppose their occupiers, but the tale of their extraordinary efforts has remained largely unknown–until now. This is the thrilling and harrowing story of the French wine producers who undertook ingenious, daring measures to save their cherished crops and bottles as the Germans closed in on them. Wine and War illuminates a compelling, little-known chapter of history, and stands as a tribute to extraordinary individuals who waged a battle that, in a very real way, saved the spirit of France.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Apr 30, 2001 – Both contributors to Wine Spectator, the Kladstrups—Don, a distinguished journalist and former TV news correspondent, and his wife, Petie, a freelance writer—have unearthed and compiled an array of facts and anecdotes about the significance of French wine—to the French and to their enemies—and the role of French winemakers during WWII. Basing their account on interviews with survivors and other research, the authors focus on the activities of five winemaking families in Burgundy, Alsace, Champagne, Bordeaux and the Loire Valley. When France fell to Hitler, the Reich sent German wine merchants (whom the French referred to as weinführers) to buy as much good French wine as possible and resell it at a large profit. Some Frenchmen, such as Louis Eschenauer (who, after the war, was tried for economic collaboration with the enemy, found guilty and sent to prison), were more than willing to do business with the enemy, but most not only resisted German occupation but also refused to give up their prized vintages to the Germans. For example, though displaced from their château by German soldiers, the Miaihles family made painstaking efforts first to relocate and then to hide some Jewish friends and later helped them escape to Argentina. To get even with the Germans who stole his wine, Jean-Michel Chevreau siphoned wine from barrels that were being shipped to Germany and refilled them with water. Although their book makes for an engaging read, the Kladstrups have organized their material in a rambling manner, which, unfortunately, makes the many names and events discussed easy to confuse.

Customer Reviews

Love history an aannddd wine?

A quick read, but utterly enjoyable! I'm a wine lover and moderate history buff, and I really enjoyed seeing the connections to a part of history I thought I was already informed on. When you think of the looting the Third Reich committed during WWII, wine is probably the last thing you would think about. But, wine was such an essential part of the French life and economy, during the time of occupation France was drained dry of it's second most important resource (the first being human life). I invite history and wine lovers to read this for an alternative view of a violent and oppressive time in history. Buy... And enjoy!

Wine and war

Excellent read. Riveting and educational.

Wine and War
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  • $11.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Europe
  • Published: May 15, 2001
  • Publisher: Crown/Archetype
  • Seller: Penguin Random House LLC
  • Print Length: 304 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings