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Basement law

There are a number of rules of etiquette on how to behave in a wine cellar or tasting room. This is often made clear in a humorous way on signs in the entrance area, very often in rhyming form. In the old days, there were also punishments for non-compliance with the rules, which were usually articulated in the form of prohibitions. The sinner was placed over an empty barrel by the cellar master or cellar servant and the extended back was beaten with the "cellar knife" or "band knife" (an old craft tool of the coopers). The prohibitions vary somewhat from place to place, but without exception, knocking on the barrels (to check the level ), swearing, shouting, singing, smoking and boozing are frowned upon.

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