homas Jefferson, an ardent agriculturist and wine drinker, believed that America's future lay in production of crops and goods that would make the new nation self-sufficient. "We could in the United States make as great a variety of wines as are made in Europe, not exactly of the same kinds, but doubtless as good," he declared, and enthusiastically supported farmers devoted to cultivation of the wine grape. |
Jefferson hoped in vain for success from native grapes. "I think it would be well," he told John Adlum, "to push the culture of that grape [a black grape, the Alexander] without losing time and effort in search of foreign vines, which it will take centuries to adapt to our soil and climate." Still, Jefferson planted European rootstocks (Black Hamburg, Chasselas, Tokay, Piedmont Malmsey, Lachrima Christi) at Monticello, and imported good European wines for his Virginia cellar and for the presidential cellar in the White House.