One of the unexpected gems I came across on my trip to France was the Musée du Vin in Paris. Located just across the river Seine from the Eiffel Tower, the museum displays wine-related artifacts from antiquity to the modern era. The evolution of wine and its role in civilization had been my academic focus leading up to the trip, so I felt a trip to the wine museum would be the most appropriate use of my time. Mona Lisa be damned!
For a wine nerd like me, this was an excellent choice. The tour began with a collection of drinking vessels from the Greco-Roman era. Some were incredibly decorative, others were the height of practicality. Some were neither. I was thrilled to see a complete amphorae sitting on pieces of other smashed vessels. Once the wine had reached its journey, it was impractical to do anything with the vessel. Many roofs were made of amphorae pieces and whole beaches are comprised of nothing but the remains of ancient wine vessels.
Equally as intriguing as the displays dedicated to the consumption of wine, were those dedicated to growing grapes and making wine. Every manner of agricultural tool was on display, such as pruning knives, brands for marking barrels and sprayers that were used in the late nineteenth century to combat the fungal diseases plaguing Europe at the time.
The displays of bottles and bottle openers were entertaining. Bulbous, impractical bottles stood next to unique shapes and modern-style bottles with etched brand names. The corkscrews presented the most entertaining collection in the museum.
English language headsets were available to guide me through the museum. I was able to pause the audio and proceed at my own pace.
For the true cork dork (see photo) the Musée du Vin was a great attraction.