Thomas Jefferson’s wine collection
Thomas Jefferson’s wine collection is famed as one of the leading assemblages of its time. Bottles from the collection have fetched large sums at auction. Political career
Thomas Jefferson, the third US president, was in office between 1801 and 1809 and the author of the Declaration of Independence in 1776.
Jefferson’s interest in wine was born in his early life as a farmer in Virginia, where he experimented unsuccessfully with growing vines in the fertile soil.
His attempts to grow European grapes failed due to the presence of the phylloxera louse.
Jefferson’s role as the ambassador to France during the 1780s enabled him to visit many wine cellars in France and the surrounding countries.
By the time he became president in 1801, Jefferson was already well known for his love of wines. His particular favourites were Cote d'or Burgundies, Hermitage Rhones and Medoc Bordeauxs, in addition to the Austrian dessert wine Tokaji.
Jefferson stored much of his wine in a cellar beneath his Virginia home, Monticello.
A number of bottles thought to have been owned by Jefferson were sold at a Christie’s auction in 1985.
The most notable sale was a 1787 Chateau Lafite Bordeaux etched with “Th.J.”, which fetched £105,000.
These bottles were deemed to be forgeries following an investigation organised by the buyer, William Koch.
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