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Wine country in France is special, even revered. In the days of Napoleon, before his soldiers went into battle, the Emperor wanted his armies to be fortified with fine wine from the French countryside. It was therefore required that every vineyard paid a tax in the form of one percent of their wine harvest to the military. That tax endures to this day in France. This is just a bit of the lore that surrounds all things to do with wine in this country of Cabernets and Burgundys. The table you are looking at here was patterned after a table in use for decades in the Saint-Emilion region of France in one of the most renowned wine producing areas of the world. The French consider wine making an art- form, and this table is a reflection of the passion that surrounds wine, wine making and the enjoyment of wine.
When President John F Kennedy and Jackie visited France in June 1961, they were all the rage in Paris, where Jackie, who was fluent in the French language, charmed the country with her savoir faire. An educated woman fluent in French, Spanish, and Italian, the First Lady had dazzled the French by speaking in their native tongue during the diplomatic visit. Imagine Jackie and JFK sitting at opposite ends of this grand table, with all the trappings of a State Dinner, in the Hall of Mirrors at the Palace Versailles, candelabra above, tuxedos and evening gowns everywhere. I can see the President sensing that the attention is riveted at opposite end of the table, looking up and quipping “I do not think it altogether inappropriate to introduce myself to this audience. I am the man who accompanied Jacqueline Kennedy to Paris, and I have enjoyed it.”
Whether the centerpiece you choose is a bouquet of flowers or a display of a set of dueling pistols, your guests and family will know this is no ordinary table. It conveys a sense of stability, old world craftsmanship, and generations. Unlike the tables so common today, this one will be here for you today and for your children and grandchildren in the future. It will become a common thread of family life around which conversations evolve and memories are made.