Founding Fathers Wine Fun Facts

Several of the United States’ Founding Fathers were fond of wine. Here are some fun facts on their interests from Thomas Jefferson on Wine by John Hailman.

  • George Washington was particularly fond of Madeira. He ordered Madeira directly by the barrel straight from the best producers on the island. He also ordered vine cuttings from Madeira hoping to start a vineyard at Mount Vernon.
  • Thomas Jefferson had approximately fifteen wine cellars during the course of his life. He tried to establish a vineyard at his Monticello estate, without success. For more fun facts on his lifelong passion for wine, click Fun Facts: Thomas Jefferson and Wine.
  • Benjamin Franklin was a lover of good food and wine. In 1778, his Paris wine cellar had over a thousand bottles. While in Paris, he had a reputation for being a ladies’ man and bon-vivant who loved to drink Champagne.
  • John Hancock was a wealthy shipowner and wine importer. In 1769, the British prosecuted him for smuggling, alleging that he had unloaded a shipment of Madeira wine without paying the duties. John Adams served as his lawyer and had the charges dismissed on a technicality after several weeks of trial.
  • John Adams was a great wine lover—he personally toured Bordeaux. Adams enjoyed sharing the world’s finest wines with Thomas Jefferson in both Paris and America.
  • In 1774, Founding Fathers Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and George Mason were among the 37 people who bought shares in Philip Mazzei’s Virginia Wine Company. The Library of Congress has a copy of the original partnership document.

Source: Thomas Jefferson on Wine by John Hailman. Check it out if you’d like to learn more about Thomas Jefferson and his passion for wine.

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