5 Fascinating Presidential Wine Facts

Happy President’s Day!

I think we can all agree that no matter what our political persuasion, it’s extremely important for us to support our President when it comes to the truly critical decisions that impact the future of America.

You know…such as what kind of wines are served at official state dinners.

As this Bloomberg report from about 11 months ago noted, the American public is very interested in this topic. One wine in particular caught folks’ attention because it was commanding about $399 at retail at the time it was served at the White House—a time when America’s unemployment rate was at more of a Two-Buck Chuck level.

After word got out about that oops-we-forgot-about-austerity bottle, the Obama administration stopped releasing the identities of wines served at the White House. It was interesting to note that the “wine list” for the recent inauguration luncheon was revealed not by the White House, but by the wineries that made the selections.

As far as I’m concerned, all the flack over that $399 bottle was silly. I want my President (and his global political guests) drinking the good stuff at the White House because it helps demonstrate America’s economic strength…even in challenging economic times.

What kind of message would we be sending to the world if they poured cheap plonk at state dinners?

Okay, enough pontificating for today. Let’s get back to the topic at hand: United States Presidents and wine. Here are five fascinating (to me, anyway) facts on that subject:

  1. At least from the perspective of making the information public, Lyndon Johnson was the first President to place an emphasis on American wines at White House functions.
  2. Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan were both Republicans, but their taste in wine couldn’t have been more different. Nixon preferred French wines (Chateau Margaux, in particular), while Reagan leaned toward the bottlings of the state he once served as Governor, California.
  3. Among the documents archived at the Jimmy Carter Library is a list of the menus for various state dinners held during Carter’s administration. I would have loved to have been there on January 24, 1980, when Prime Minister Francesco Cossiga of Italy was served a meal that included Robert Mondavi Johannisberg Riesling, Simi Cabernet Sauvignon and Hans Kornell Extra Dry sparkling wine, followed by a concert featuring country music star Tom T. Hall, who concluded his set with the song, “Old Dogs, Children and Watermelon Wine.”
  4. It’s fairly well known that Thomas Jefferson planted grapevines—European varieties—at his Monticello home. What’s not so well known is that he did not live to see them produce wine-worthy grapes.
  5. Records show that during one six-month stretch—from September 1775 to March 1776, George Washington spent more than $6,000 on adult beverages, mostly Madeira wine.
Posted in Wine Buzz
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