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John Quincy Adams on Thomas Jefferson's Wine Oratory: Boring

Thomas Jefferson. Founding Father. Designer of Monticello. And, most importantly to us, lover of wine. But when it came to the latter, one future present just wished he'd shut up about it.

In an article about the history of wine in Virginia, C-Ville Weekly recounts what must have been an epic eye-rolling session at one of Jefferson's dinners attended by John Quincy Adams. Regarding Jefferson's predictable predilection to pontificate about the fermented grape, Adams recalled, "There was, as usual, a dissertation upon wines. Not very edifying."

Other interesting facts about Jefferson and wine?

  • During his eight-year run as President from 1801-1809, he spent 7,500 dollars on wine.
  • 400 bottles of wine were consumed at Monticello per year.
  • His efforts to make wine from vineyards planted on a 400 acre plot next to Monticello were "...thwarted by frost, mildew, the phylloxera pest, and the hooves of Hessian horses."

See our interview Gabriele Rausse, Monticello’s Director of Gardens and Grounds and a pioneer in Virginia winemaking. Rausse was the first winemaker at Barboursville and one of the first in modern times to make wine in Virginia. In his position as Director of Gardens and Grounds, he has worked to restore Jefferson’s vineyard at Monticello.

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