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Wine and the White House: A Presidential Toast

Evening Lecture/Seminar

Wednesday, September 29, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET
Code: 1K0140
This program is part of our
Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.
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Early presidents recognized the important function wine played in entertaining at the White House. While some appreciated and enjoyed wine, others considered it merely a ceremonial necessity. Still others campaigned to outlaw wine and banned it from the Executive Mansion; their successors celebrated its return. More recently, all presidents, regardless of whether they enjoyed wine themselves, have used the White House as a venue to showcase the fine wines produced in the United States.

In an illustrated conversation, Fred Ryan, Jr., author of Wine and the White House: A History, is joined by Smithsonian Distinguished Scholar Richard Kurin for an informative and entertaining evening perfect for devotees of presidential history, lovers of wine, or both.

They discuss the importance of wine throughout White House history and explore how tastes in wine varieties and entertaining have evolved and adapted over those 200 years, from fine French wines to temperance and Prohibition to the emergence of world-renowned American wines. They spotlight presidents known for their wine expertise— such as Thomas Jefferson, Richard Nixon, and Ronald Reagan—and cover how wine is selected, stored, and served at the White House, offering a glimpse of some of the service pieces in the collection. 

Wine and the White House: A History (White House Historical Association) is available for sale.

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