The Surprising Relationship Between Politics and Wine

I know, politics and wine…it’s not exactly something that crosses your mind every day! With election day just past though, I thought it would be an interesting topic. There most certainly is a strong connection.

Some of what I found, I knew but never gave too much thought. Other facts involving politics and wine were definitely new to me!


Laws, Reputation, and Wine


Politicians are constantly being judged for their decisions and actions. Reaching for a glass of wine is certainly understandable, right? Sure, but they better tread carefully! Too much of anything is bad and that is most certainly true with any alcoholic beverage. We all know that the overconsumption of alcohol can alter the way people act and/or think. For a politician, especially one that is being scrutinized, a simple glass could look bad. Mixing politics and wine (or alcohol in general) can work for you or against you.


If it so happens to be a politician involved in passing or contributing to laws regarding alcohol use, it gets worse. A politician who overindulges in wine will have a hard time gaining the support of citizens. When it comes to lawmaking, the term, “practice what you preach,” is certainly in order!


Wine Lovers in Politics

Many high profile politicians have been known to enjoy a glass or two of wine. This includes wine-loving presidents as well. Some politicians have been known to require bottles of wine on all of their flights. Similarly, others have requested specific wines to be available at all of their dinner engagements. 


President Barack Obama supplied vintage wines at a White House dinner in 2012. President George Bush favors Cabernet Sauvignon from the Napa Valley. This wine is known to cost well over $600 per bottle!


Presidential drink preferences


Check out these facts about other wine-loving Presidents and their favorite vino:


  • Thomas Jefferson spent so much on wine he nearly went completely broke.
  • Champagne was among James Madison’s favorite wines to drink in moderation.
  • James Monroe apparently favored Champagne and Burgandy. He charged 1,200 bottles to an account Congress had budgeted for furniture. They weren’t happy!
  • In a letter to his daughter, John Tyler wrote, “They have good drinks…Champagne…of which you know I am very fond.” This was in reference to a dinner with President Madison.
  • Though he didn’t drink much Calvin Coolidge enjoyed Tokay wine.
  • It’s been said that Herbert Hoover had an impressive wine collection. Unfortunately, his wife reportedly dumped it all down the drain. This supposedly occurred at the start of prohibition.
  • Richard Nixon enjoyed expensive wines such as Chateau Lafite Rothschild. Not surprisingly, he didn’t offer the same to his guests. In fact, he had his staff hide the bottle labels so they didn’t know.
  • Ronald Reagan favored French wines and California wines.


Your Favorite Wine Could Tell Your Political Party Preference

Many studies have actually been done on the alcoholic beverage of choice for politicians. It seems, however, that for wine drinkers, no party favors any particular wine over the other. (It warms my heart knowing that a glass of wine can unite us all). Despite that, wine drinkers have been found to be the most likely to vote! So, maybe it could be a reason for a politician to break out a glass of wine at an event. It could be the key to more votes! 


politics and wine


Money, Politics, and Wine

Wine producers have been known to donate money to political candidates. Many California winemakers have given large sums of money to the Democratic party in past years. California wineries loyalty to the Democratic Party dates back to even the 1940’s. This was when the Gallo winery made a substantial donation.

There have been wineries that likewise favor the Republican party. However, it seems to be more on a singular basis rather than the blanket support given to Democrats. Strangely enough, while most Californian wineries are Democrat, most vineyard owners are Republican. Republican parties also garner more support from beer companies than wineries.


Politics and Wine Around the World

Wine and politics are not just found in the U.S.A. Politicians from around the globe enjoy wine and can be seen drinking at political events. England is known for elected officials partaking in a glass of wine while discussing politics. This tradition dates as far back as the 1780’s.


Paying the Wine Tab

Notable politicians like Paul Ryan, have indulged in wines costing as much as $350…per glass! Some officials get their drinks paid by the wineries themselves. Others have to pay up at the end of the night or event. High-end wine may look fancy but it could speak volumes about where a politicians head is at.


Politician Owned Vineyards and Wineries

Most politicians know how to invest their money. Many of them have turned to open wineries or start their own vineyards. One notable politician who owns a vineyard is House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.  U.S. Representative Mike Thompson and Eric Trump are among others.


Politics and wine have a long history. Wine has been a part of the political scene in more ways than one. It’s not uncommon or taboo to see glasses of wine being passed out at political events. This includes local and state level campaign events, right on up to Presidential events. Very few presidents have completely abstained from alcohol use. Our current President Donald Trump chooses not to drink any form of alcohol.  I think it’s safe to say, this is likely a very good thing!

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