However, when you are on the road for 11 days with 15 people in 3 vans, it is a good idea to schedule a couple of Roman baths along the way. By the second one, people are willing to wash each others backs. NOTE: This picture would have been A LOT more interesting, but I was expressly forbidden to shoot while we were in the baths.
So before you buy, there are some precautions you should take. First, take a good look at the wine to make sure there isn't anything floating in it (you saw those containers). The French will try and taste you on their wines in their dark, damp cellars. The shrewd buyer brings the wine out into the light.
Next, smelling the wine is necessary to determine if there is an objectionable odor that might make the wine difficult to sell. And then, if nothing is too off-putting, you must taste the wine, BUT FOR HEAVENS SAKE, DON'T SWALLOW! This is the hardest part. It is essential that you spit the wine out. Because--- ??!!! -
Spitting is an important symbol that you are a wine professional. Although the origins of this custom is not clear, it is believed to have dated back to when wine spitting for distance was part of the original olympics. The current modern record is held by Jacques Lardiere, winemaker for Louis Jadot. I was there when he spit half way across the room into a small barrel opening just as I was about to lean over and spit myself. Fortunately for me, his aim was very good.