The episode's title is a reference to John Steinbeck's novel "The Grapes of Wrath" (the movie that is based on the novel, is, like The Simpsons, a Fox property). In fact, Bart crushes grapes in this episode too.
Bart's French gift to Maggie is a reference to Le Ballon Rouge, a short French children's film.
On the way to the chateau, Bart and Ugolin cycle past scenes depicted in several famous paintings, notably Bassin aux nymphéas by Claude Monet, Champ de blé aux corbeaux by Vincent van Gogh, Le rêve by Pablo Picasso and Déjeuner sur l'herbe by Édouard Manet.
Adil's surmane, Hohxa, is a likely reference to Albanian dictator Enver Hohxa, who was like many Communist dictators known for a combination of paranoia, outlandish behavior and an effort to keep his country isolated from the rest of the world; especially rid of Western influences. Among some of the things Enver Hohxa had been famous for was building 75,000 bunkers in Albania to protect from an American invasion he prophesized about (which ultimately never happened), kidnapping a dentist who beared a resemblance to him and forcing him to undergo plastic surgery to get a new job as a body double, and the banning of beards, bow ties, and color TVs in Albania.
While Bart is in France he stays at the "Chateau Maison" which means "Castle House" in English. Ironically, Ugolin and Cesar's residence is hardly that depiction.
Bart has to go get antifreeze from 14 Voltaire Street.
Bart's piggy bank is covered in bandages, a reference to "Homer's Odyssey", in which Homer breaks it.
Springfield Airport hosts direct international flights from Tirana, Albania and Paris, France.
Early in the episode, there is some actual dialogue in the Albanian language between Adil and his family, but later on the dialogue is just gibberish. The dialogue in French is very loosely translated, but correct.
During the scene of Adil's arrival in Springfield, the Albanian national anthem can be heard.
Ugolin whistles the melody of "Alouette" while walking to the fields. The song, which originates in French-Canada, is not very well known in France and would likely not be known by someone of his social class.
In later seasons, Agnes Skinner's personality seems vastly different to her kindly demeanor in this episode. In the DVD audio commentary, Matt Groening offers the theory that her current mean streak can be attributed to being a victim of Bart's prank.
Cesar and Ugolin appear 17 years later in The Simpsons Game in the Episode (level) Medal of Homer. During the gameplay they are your enemies, but in the ending cutscene they are your allies, because you have protected France. As a reward they give you a Royal French Painting with a Flying Hellfish logo.
This episode aired a year before the end of the Cold War.
It is revealed that Bart has the ability to pick up languages at astonishing speeds, even though "Lisa the Simpson" revealed that Bart (along with other Simpson males) is genetically predisposed to lose their brainpower when they grow older (though that could be a mistake too, as Bart's reason for being a bad student stemmed from his surly, uncaring kindergarten teacher singling him out as someone who will never succeed as seen in the season 9 flashback episode "Lisa's Sax"). He would later learn Spanish very fast in the episode "Blame It on Lisa", he would then forget everything he learned about the Spanish language.
In the French-dubbed version of this episode, the officer understands Bart, but is unaware that he is being abused. Bart then leaves, disappointed, but realizes that he should have spoken to him of the actions of the winemakers. The Quebec dub follows a little bit closer to the original, but in this version, the reason the officer does not understand Bart is because Bart speaks with a Quebec accent.
This is the first anthology episode, in a similar style to Showtime's Nightmare Classics. This episode is succeeded by the following: