Thomas Jefferson and Wine

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) was the third president of the United States. Recently he has been brought into the limelight as details about his relationship with his slave, Sally Hemings, was proven through DNA testing. For wine lovers, though, Jefferson will also be remembered for his incredible contributions to wine in the states.

Jefferson grew up as a farmer in Virginia, and was always keenly interested in growing grape vines in this fertile soil. He worked at this for decades, but was baffled by the European grapes' complete failure to grow. He could not have known at the time that the phylloxera louse loved to munch on these tasty roots - the discovery of the louse and its harm only came around in the 1860s. Still, he tried his best.

Jefferson was the Ambassador to France during the 1780s, and made a point to travel around to the wine centers not only in France but also in neighboring countries. By the time he became president he was well known for his fine taste in wines. Favorites on the White House list were Cote d'or Burgundies, Hermitage Rhones, and Medoc Bordeauxs. He also loved sweet dessert wines - his two favorites were Tokaji from Austria and Sauternes from France.

Some of the highest priced wine bottles ever sold were bottles of Chateau Lafite Bordeaux, supposedly owned by Thomas Jefferson back in the late 1700s.

Wine Regions in History

All content on the WineIntro website is personally written by author and wine enthusiast Lisa Shea. WineIntro explores the delicious variety and beautiful history which makes up our world of wine! Lisa loves supporting local wineries and encouraging people to drink whatever they like. We all have different taste buds, and that makes our world wonderful. Always drink responsibly.