Wine and Our Forefathers

If you thought wine was just something that modern cosmopolitans drank, think again. Wine has an incredibly diverse history, and nowhere is that wine history more interesting than with our very own forefathers.

The founders of our nation seemed to have a particular affinity for wine in its many forms, and that means wine has played a role in some of America’s most notable events.

Take the final drafting of the US Constitution, for example. Celebrating the completion of that feat surely called for a party, and our forefathers did not miss out on the opportunity. After making that final revision, an order was put in for Madeira, claret, whiskey, port, beer, and various other alcoholic beverages. In all, this totaled around 150 bottles of wine, beer, and hard alcohol. There were even bowls of alcoholic punch, which were requested to be suitably large for ducks to swim in them. This lavishly outrageous order was for a mere fifty-five men!

Thomas Jefferson was no stranger to wine, either. One of our most revered presidents, he is noted for his frequent trips to France, which could very well have been the reason for his particular taste for wine. Regardless of the origins of his love, Jefferson’s budget speaks volumes about just how much he enjoyed wine. For his post, Jefferson was given $25,000 a year. At the time, that was quite a substantial salary. His expenses, however, proved large as well. In any given year, Jefferson would spend approximately $6000 on groceries and other food-related provisions, and a staggering $3000 was dedicated solely to keeping Jefferson’s wine cellar stocked. The number becomes even more outrageous when considering that Lewis (of exploring duo Lewis and Clark) only earned $500 a year for his grueling work exploring the untamed West.

Other forefathers, however, certainly trusted Jefferson’s opinion when it came to wine. After all, the first five presidents in office looked to Jefferson to keep their private wine cellars full of the finest drink. Jefferson himself was particularly fond of both Madeira and Bordeaux.

So, although we might consider ourselves wine experts today, we shouldn’t forget that we owe a great debt to our American forefathers. Not only did they create the basis and foundation for our society today, but they also passed down the belief that we should hold the constitution in one hand and a nice full-bodied glass of Bordeaux in the other.. wine tours Willamette Valley

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