|Did you know that the bill for a celebration party for the 55 drafters of the US Constitution was for 54 bottles of Madeira, 60 bottles of claret, 8 bottles of whiskey, 22 bottles of port, 8 bottles of hard cider, 12 beers and seven bowls of alcohol punch large enough that “ducks could swim in them?”|
As Thomas Jefferson (pictured above) was a serious wine enthusiast (he’d travel through Bordeaux extensively and impress his guests with his knowledge of the intricacies of wine), it is no surprise that 60 bottles of claret were in the mix.
In fact, Thomas Jefferson’s salary was $25,000 per year – a princely sum at the time, but the expenses were also great. In 1801 Jefferson spent on average $6,500 for provisions and groceries, $2,700 for servants (some of whom were liveried), $500 for Lewis’s salary, and $3,000 for wine. He also helped stock the wine cellars of the first five U.S. presidents and was very partial to fine Bordeaux and Madeira.
But what’s more, Thomas Jefferson frequently would write to the owners of Château Lafite asking them to specially bottle and ship wine for him directly. He feared that the wine when bottled by the merchants would not always hold the same wine that it was supposed to. Given the quantities of wine that he purchased both in his professional and personal capacity, the Château was happy to oblige. This was well before it became a common practice for the Château to bottle its own wine. That only happened in 1920.
With these fun facts, we wish our American readers a Happy Independence Day.