National Drink Wine Day: What Wine to Drink for President's Day Weekend

Wine has played a big part in presidential history: drink like the presidents do

It should not seem to be such a huge coincidence that National Drink Wine Day falls this year during the three-day weekend President's Day Weekend — because as history would have it, our presidents really knew how to enjoy a glass or two.

The presidential love of wine all began with the Founding Fathers. George Washington and his crew were big fans of madeira, a fortified wine that was a common beverage among the 13 colonies. (As writer Stacy Slinkard explains it, the island of Madeira was exempt from certain British exportation laws, which made it easy for settlers to bring it across the sea.) It's even been said that Washington drank a pint of it daily (that explains a lot). Madeira was the drink of choice when the Declaration of Independence was signed, when Washington, D.C. was established, and when Washington was inaugurated as the first POTUS. 

What made madeira such a popular drink among the Founding Fathers? It's hard to say. Even Benjamin Franklin, the man who invented electricity, liked to harpoon on madeira's magical abilities to revive flies that had been drowned in it. (We're going to guess this rant, posted on the Madeira Wine Guide, was fueled by a bit of madeira.) The Madeira Wine Guide comments on it, "So highly was Madeira wine regarded back then, that the reputation of Madeira wine to have special, almost mystical, qualities seems to have been common thought in 1773." 

While madeira wines may be harder to find now, other fortified wines, like port and sherry, are good stand-ins for madeira for President's Day Weekend — and National Drink Wine Day. 

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Duff5000's picture

Hi Marcy, from my understanding and what I learned in a Sommelier class was that Madeira, sometime in the 1400's had their tax lifted by an English king whom had married a Portuguese Princess. The British prince inherited a sizable debt and the Portuguese king paid it off for him. In turn, the new king of England lifted all taxes that England received from Madeira. Which is why Madeira was so popular during the revolutionary war. England wasn't making a drop of taxes so everyone in America was drinking it. I own a wine store and I sell a lot of Madeira with this lovely little story.

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