World War 2 was a dark time for this world, but in the darkness there’s always a glimmer of light. In many countries under occupation the Resistance Movements were the lifeline of hope. They fought against the Nazis and their puppet governments at tremendous risk to themselves and their families. They believed in the value of human life and doing what was right. Resistance comes in many forms whether it is physical fighting or spiritual resistance (acts against the enemy without physical violence).

 

Jean Monmousseau 1946
Image by: Bouvet Ladubay

 

One such man was Jean Monmousseau, a winemaker for his family’s winery (son of Justin-Marcel Monmousseau) in the town of Montrichard, in the Loire Valley. The family was and is known for their fabulous sparkling wines. Germans left winemakers alone as they were big wine fans. This gave winemakers a bit more freedom than others, so Monmousseau used this freedom to help smuggle resistance fighters across the border of Occupied France and Free France (aka: the Demarcation Line) in oak wine barrels.

 

Frankreich, Demarkationslinie, Kontrollposten
Image by: Bundes Archive and Wikipedia

 

Can you imagine being penned up inside a wooden oak barrel for 6 hours? Not knowing what is going on outside, being cramped,uncomfortable, and completely terrified. Being rolled around and you cannot make a sound for fear of discovery. Discovery would have meant certain death for the person in the container as well as for Monmousseau and perhaps his family as well. Even his father the director of the winery did not know what his son was doing, so that way if someone was discovered they could realistically deny all knowledge. As a matter of fact, his family did not find out until after the war that he was a hero. He took over the winery from his father in 1946.

Joe, the Sommelier from the Wine Show, tested it out. He was released after 45 minutes and described it as

” a sobering experience and reminds everyone of the price once paid by those who fought for liberation from the Nazis in WW2″.

Joe from Wine Show in Barrel
Image by: The Wine Show

 

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