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The World's Wackiest Wine Laws

We'll have none of that flying saucer behavior in our appellation, thanks
© Fotolia/Wine-Searcher/Wikimedia/Philipp Hertzog | We'll have none of that flying saucer behavior in our appellation, thanks
Why you should wear a sword if you want a glass of wine in Ireland.

1. Perhaps the most famous law that haunts the world of wine is a 1954 decree stating that no flying saucers may fly over, take off from, or land on the vineyards of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. This is, of course, very unfortunate for grenache-loving Martians who have screaming kids in the backseat and a trunk full of groceries. I guess they’ll have to park the flying saucer in nearby Vacqueyras and walk.

2. Women are not permitted in the wine region of Mount Athos, Greece, not at all, ever, and this has been the case for the last thousand years. Womanly wiles are apparently distracting to the monks who live there, and so local law has spared these men from having to look upon any female, from Jennifer Lawrence to your elderly, mustachioed Great-Aunt Muriel. This sounds like the worst place in the whole world and if wine reflects the winemaker, I can only imagine that wines from Mount Athos sing with a frustrated, nervous energy.

3. At Dublin’s Trinity College, any student can demand a glass of wine during an exam, so long as they are wearing a sword. Under this arcane law, it apparently seems like a fun idea to let armed, stressed-out and quite possibly sleep-deprived students get their drink on during an exam. 

4. Wander into any German wine cellar and you will quite possibly see a cage in one corner.  Sparkling wine must be kept under lock and key and the German tax office imposes a ‘luxury’ charge on these wines. The law has been in place since 1902 to – get this – fund the pre-war German Navy. The tax remains today, but has not been used to purchase new boats since 1949. Instead, it provides a small amount of income for the German government and keeps the German padlock industry afloat. Of course, if you see no wine in the cage and there is a large, leather-clad woman in the room, chances are you have wandered into some other kind of cellar.

5. In the state of Pennsylvania, a man who wishes to buy a bottle of wine (or any alcohol for that matter) must have a written note of permission from his wife. This has led to a high level of wifely satisfaction in the state, and is possibly the reason that Bravo has not yet approved a "Real Housewives of Philadelphia" TV series.

6. In neighboring Ohio, you should probably look past your mate Nemo for advice on what wine to pour with your roast beef. State law prevents you from feeding booze to a fish. The word is still out on whether it is acceptable to flambé your freshly caught trout in alcohol. 

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