Before I give you a few bits of Presidential wine trivia, I wanted to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who came out this weekend and enjoyed the wine and chocolate pairings! I had lots of fun sharing them with you all and hope you had as much fun.
Since today is President’s Day, I thought I’d share a few tidbits about our past presidents’ wine choices. While pretty much every U.S. President has served libations (except for Rutherford B. Hayes during the beginning of the temperance movement), a handful of presidents have been much more inclined to wine than other alcoholic beverages.
Thomas Jefferson is probably the most famous for his wine consumption. He traveled France and Europe extensively before becoming our 3rd president. While on his travels Jefferson became quite a connoisseur of French wine, and served Bordeaux, Burgundy, and Sauternes extensively during his tenure in office. If you enjoy reading, I highly recommend the book The Billionaire’s Vinegar, which is all about the supposed lost wine of Thomas Jefferson.
French wines were de rigueur for most early presidents, and it wasn’t until Abraham Lincoln came into office that the first American-made wine was officially served during a White House function. In fact, Missouri’s state grape, the Norton was one of these first American wines to be served at the White House!
While Lincoln paved the way for U.S. produced wines to be served at the White House, it wasn’t until Lyndon B. Johnson that it was decreed that only American wines would be served during official White House functions. It’s probably no surprise that Ronald Reagan was a fan of California wine and highlighted several California produces during his years at the White House. Clinton served wines produced in a variety of states and didn’t hesitate to highlight mid-west or eastern wines.
Currently, Obama seems to prefer CA champagne from Domain Chandon for state functions. In fact Michelle caused a small controversy in Illinois not too long after her husband took office when she stated that she did not think Illinois produced good wine. Clearly, the Obamas need to go on a midwest wine tour to celebrate Presidents Day!
Here is a fun article with more information about what past presidents served for food and drinks at the White House. It includes several menus from state functions.
What wine are you celebrating President’s Day with today? Whatever you choose, I hope you enjoy the holiday and can come by Peaceful Bend for a visit. We’ll be open until 6pm today. Cheers!