Thomas Jefferson Leadership
.. you mention having for disposal two casks of white & red Sherry, and one of Malaga. if the Sherry be dry, I will gladly take them, as also the Malaga. if you could order for me a pipe [cask] of dry Pacharetti, and one of dry Sherry of the first qualities, to be forwarded from Spain by the first safe occasion I should be obliged to you … I wish the wines as old as could be got, so as to be ready for immediate use
To Joseph Yznardi, Sr., March 24, 1801
Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Some leaders are very particular about their lubrication.
After Jefferson sold his personal library of 23,000 books to Congress, he wrote, “I cannot live without books.” He began to buy more books. He did not write, “I cannot live without wine,” but he certainly could have. He loved wine, having two or three glasses each evening, more if the after-dinner company was particularly enjoyable. He limited the alcohol’s effect by drinking only weaker wines.
The footnote to this letter, available at the Yznardi link above, provides details on what Jefferson received from this order. The “pipe” alone contained 129 gallons.
Note that Jefferson did not inquire about the price or set a limit on what he would pay. Another source claims, “According to Hailman’s Jefferson on Wine, Jefferson spent $3,200 per year on wine during his first term, which equates to roughly 13% of his annual salary.”