Despite having an official sommelier, US president Barack Obama’s White House wine cellar is only “the size of a walk-in closet”. This according to a “reliable source” who reportedly visited the cellar of the most powerful man on earth’s cellar a few times.
In the 19th century, Thomas Jefferson, however built a cellar under the West Wing to hold about 20 000 bottles. In stark contradiction the Prohibition years were fairly dry for president Hoover and his family, and by the time martini-loving Franklin D Roosevelt came to power, Jefferson’s cellar was repurposed and instead a pantry became the wine cellar. It was Carter who decreed that only American wines be served at the White House and Reagan continued the tradition.
Interestingly, today sommelier Daniel Shanks chooses the wine to be served at official dinners in consultation with the First Lady.
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