Four Days in France in One Night

William Hock By William Hock, 17th Oct 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Travel>Europe>France>Burgundy

Experiences of a wine salesman. A trip to France that wasn't all business.

Part 1

It was just another boring trip to France for me. My second trip in three months in the Spring of ’97. As fate would have it, when I returned from my first seminar in Burgundy, my company had acquired a new source of wines from France. You guessed it, from Burgundy as well. After all the “I’s” were dotted and the “T’s” crossed, we still had to put together the obligatory team to go to Burgundy and partake the overwhelming hospitality of our hosts. After careful thought and consideration, I accepted my place on the team and re-packed my bags.
As is customary, flights to Europe usually leave in the evening and arrive in the morning hours on the other side. We boarded our flight and settled in with our carry-ons close at hand. The Captain welcomed us, the flight attendants whisked through their pre-flight routine, and we were off. Once airborn, we all reached for our bags. It wasn’t a contest, but it was interesting to see who packed what and how much. By that, I mean bottles of wine, liquor or pre-mixed containers of adult type beverages. This type of careful packing and preparing for a long flight wouldn’t be allowed in modern times, but this was prior to 9/11, so we made it through the check-in.
Armed with those little plastic cups that look like tiny buckets, we started sharing and imbibing. As professionals, we talked amongst ourselves and engaged other passengers that took an interest in our conversations. Considering the time we took off, it was basically “happy hour”, and we treated it as such.
The flight was going smoothly. We had probably reached Canadian air space on our northerly route to Europe when the flight attendants started looking at us funny. Something about not being allowed to bring our own booze… I don’t know… I wasn’t paying too much attention. As ones not to be fazed by the idle concerns of airline employees, we kept the wine flowing. If it wasn’t for the fact that we were an entertaining bunch, I think we would have been shut down somewhere between Nova Scotia and New Foundland. As it was, I’m guessing Greenland was in sight when they finally said enough. But this is when the real fun began. They had their own problem. There was too much opened wine in first class, and it would go to waste if somebody didn’t drink it. Needless to say, we collectively decided to help them out. I can now see why first class is called first class.
Since there seemed to be an endless supply of “opened” wine, it appeared that there were plenty of "wine tasters" in first class on the previous flight.
At first, it was easy to see the concern on their faces as they considered their options in dealing with this crisis. But after crossing the Prime Meridian, their tension seemed to ease up. With Paris only a few short hours away, all that opened wine just might not be a problem upon landing.
So, from red wine to white wine, and back to red again, we passed the time with stories and jokes. At this point, and I’m not sure if we actually cleaned out first class, but we decided to catch a few winks before landing. Let’s just say for the record that we did our job, and first class could start over with new bottles of wine on the next flight!

Part 2 will be our arrival in Paris and experience there.


Burgundy, France, Paris, Wine, Wine Tasting, Wine Tours, Wineries

Meet the author

author avatar William Hock
Attended a small, liberal arts college that stressed writing. I have been in the wine business for over 20 years.

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author avatar Rose*
8th Dec 2013 (#)

I hope you didn't end up with a hangover after all that wine!

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author avatar William Hock
11th Dec 2013 (#)

Of course I did!! But it was worth it!

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author avatar cnwriter..carolina
18th May 2014 (#)

being a wine writer...enjoy all..and bugger those who do not...

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