Day 1 – Thomas Jefferson, A Primer
Day 2 – The First Wine of Record, Claret
Day 3 – Jefferson and Madeira
Day 4 – Jefferson’s Favorite Wines Available Today
Day 5 – Monticello Pictorial
Day 6 – Monticello Vineyards
Day 7 – The Monticello Cellar
Day 8 – Thomas Jefferson—Orchardist and Cidermaker (Part 1)
Day 9 – Quotable Jefferson
Day 10 – The Curious Philip Mazzei
Day 11 – Jefferson Vineyards
Day 12 – What Would Jefferson Think?
Day 13 – Thomas Jefferson—Cidermaker and Scientist-Farmer (Part 2)
Day 14 – Jefferson in Paris – A Pictorial of his Travels
Day 15 – Jefferson in Paris – Pictorial
Day 16 – Jefferson’s Wine Travels Through France and Italy
Day 17 – Jefferson’s Memorandum Notes on Journey Through France and Italy
Day 18 – Monticello Wine Festival
Day 19 – Jefferson in France, Thoughts on Bordeaux
Day 20 – Jefferson’s Paris Wine Cellar
Day 21 – Jefferson in Burgundy – Random Notes
Day 22 – Germany and Champagne, Jefferson’s Route
Day 23 – Jefferson in Champagne
Day 24 – Jefferson, The Wine Consultant
Day 25 – President Jefferson and Wine, How Much Did Jefferson Spend On Wine?
Day 26 – President Jefferson, Wine Factoid
Day 27 – Wines Provided at Washington
Day 28 – Retirement, The Vintage Years
Day 29 – Jefferson and The Billionaire’s Vinegar
Day 30 – Final Thoughts, Jefferson’s Last Letter, The End
Today marks day 30, the final post in the ‘30 Days of Thomas Jefferson on Wine’ series. I will end the series as I began it, by noting that I am not a Jefferson scholar, and this 30-day series could not possibly provide complete coverage of Jefferson’s full range of wine experiences. I’ll leave the in-depth analysis and reporting to historians and authors who have spent years of their lives studying the remarkable life of our nations first oenophile.
My motivation for undertaking this endeavor of 30 Days of Jefferson on Wine is primarily for my own self-education. Personally, I learn more when I collect and organize my thoughts in written form, and the last 30 days represents my attempt to organize information I’ve gleaned over the last few months from reading a number of books on Thomas Jefferson.
Though this series was primarily a selfish endeavor, I truly hope that others following the series have found some (or all) of the posts educational. I think most wine enthusiasts are aware of Jefferson’s strong interest in wine, but I hope that I shared a few Jeffersonian wine factoids that readers may not have otherwise learned.
Since June, I’ve read four books on the life, times and wine of Thomas Jefferson, along with hundreds of letters and notes in The Writings of Thomas Jefferson (via Google Books online). With each book or letter, I found myself in a constant state of amazement at Jefferson’s range of curiosities and capacity for details.
Through out his life, Jefferson maintained meticulous cellar records, some of which I’ve shared as part of this series. As part of the day 7 post I provided Jefferson’s last cellar list, made months before his death.
As an adjunct to Jefferson’s last cellar list – to ‘celebrate’ the final post in this series – below is the final letter Jefferson wrote. It’s fitting that Jefferson’s last letter was about wine. Written on June 25, 1826, three weeks before his death, Jefferson wrote to his agent Bernard Peyton directing him to pay 18 dollars for duties and shipping for his annual supply of wines from southern France.
It’s clear from this letter that Jefferson was restocking his cellar and had intentions of living much longer.
Though I consider this 30-day series a success from a personal standpoint, I leave this series unfinished, as I wasn’t able to cover the full range of topics I initially planned to:
- Jefferson’s renewed interest in his Monticello vineyards during his retirement
- Jefferson on beer
- Jefferson’s planned brewery at Monticello
- The Wine Company formed by Philip Mazzei that included partners Thomas Jefferson and George Washington
- More of Jefferson’s wine related letters
- More coverage of Jefferson’s influence on his fellow Founding Fathers
Since I have eight Jefferson on wine posts ‘in process,’ I will likely finish each of them over the course of the next couple of months and post them as time permits.
Before wrapping up, I would like to thank several people who gave their time unselfishly for lengthy conversations. A special thanks to Chad Zakaib of Jefferson Vineyards for giving up a Sunday morning to meet with me for a tour and history lesson on the land that formally belonged to Jefferson, and to Gabriele Rausse, winemaker at Monticello, who spent an entire afternoon with my wife and I touring the vineyards of Monticello. I especially appreciate Gabriele’s patience with me as I deluged him with follow up questions via email.
I also appreciate the scholars and authors who have dedicated years of their lives studying the life of Thomas Jefferson. Hat tip to Jim Gabler, author of Passions – The Wines and Travels of Thomas Jefferson, and to John Hailman, author of the epic ‘Thomas Jefferson on Wine‘ for their comprehensive coverage of Thomas Jefferson’s wine experiences. Both of their books kept me company many late nights through the summer months and proved invaluable references during this series.
I leave this series not only with a little more knowledge, but also with a renewed respect for a man that lived a ‘full’ life. In addition to his many notable accomplishments – President, architect, revolutionary, statesmen, philosopher, inventor, and musician – I consider Jefferson The Great Enigma.
The end. Thank you.
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