June 7, 2006

House toasts wine victory over France

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The legislative body that introduced
"freedom fries" to the world has once again thumbed its nose at

The U.S. House of Representatives, where french fries were
renamed in anger at France's opposition to the Iraq war, late
on Tuesday passed a resolution honoring a landmark 1976 wine
tasting that saw California's Napa Valley beat the best
Bordeaux and Burgundy had to offer.

That surprise victory in a blind tasting thirty years ago
uncorked an industry that now pours $50 billion into the U.S.

France's winemakers have suffered as the two longtime
allies have clashed over the war in Iraq.

An American boycott of French wines cost the French wine
industry $112 million in the six months after the March 2003
Iraqi invasion.

House Speaker Dennis Hastert threatened in 2003 to label
French wines with a warning that they might be refined with
bovine blood, though that practice ended in 1997.