WHEN PRESIDENT-ELECT Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden transfer into the White Home on January 20, what wines will they serve? Will they keep on with the tried-and-true picks of their predecessors or choose one thing extra daring—a glowing wine from Texas or Vermont maybe?
As Frederick J. Ryan, Jr., recounts in “Wine and the White Home: A Historical past,” some American presidents have been extra keen on the grape than others, however all of them acknowledged wine’s vital political position.
Though it was printed final fall, Mr. Ryan’s 456-page opus appears much more related now as present White Home staffers put together at hand their successors the keys to the cellar. Till studying this e book, I’d by no means given a lot thought to the choice and repair of wines by presidents and their staffers—in truth, I’d by no means given a lot thought to sure presidents, similar to James Buchanan and Rutherford B. Hayes, in any respect. However due to Mr. Ryan I realized that the previous appreciated wine a lot he ultimately drank himself into gout, whereas the latter appreciated wine so little he needed to be all however compelled to tug some corks. (His teetotaler spouse was nicknamed “Lemonade Lucy.”)
President Harry S. Truman was apparently simply as stingy with the juice. He served, it’s famous, a single glass of Champagne to visitors earlier than dinners, whereas throughout the meal “the method of refilling the empty wineglasses was intentionally sluggish.”
Wine is a wonderful prism by way of which to contemplate previous presidents and their accomplishments or misdeeds (or each). Take, for instance, Richard M. Nixon. Whereas the thirty seventh president could have resigned in shame, he’s additionally accountable for placing Schramsberg, the Napa Valley sparkling-wine producer, on the map when he served a 1969 Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs to Chinese language Premier Zhou Enlai in 1972 in a toast to the breakthrough in American-Chinese language relations.