Jefferson’s Dream

Italian winegrowing on both sides of the Atlantic

Sommeliers’ Themed Lunches are offered by the Zonin Family Estates, with the aim of gathering together sommeliers from various top-quality restaurants to discuss an interesting theme in a relaxed atmosphere and in a prestigious venue.

Thomas Jefferson, described as America’s “first distinguished viticulturist” and “the greatest patron of wine and vine growing that this country has yet had,” attempted to make seven vintages at Monticello in Virginia, without ever succeeding in producing an actual grape harvest. Although Jefferson aspired to make wine from his own vines at Monticello, his continual replanting of the vineyards reflects an ongoing losing struggle with grape growing. But Jefferson was not the only one to experience such failure: successful cultivation of Vitis Vinifera, the classic European wine species, was virtually impossible in the United States at the time. New methods for controlling black rot and such destructive pests as Phylloxera – by grafting vines onto indigenous American rootstocks – still had to be developed. Nevertheless, in spite of all this frustration, Jefferson steadfastly predicted: “We could make as great a variety of wines here as are made in Europe, not exactly of the same kind but doubtless as good.”

This tasting will allow us to test Jefferson’s prediction of different characteristics but equal quality, by comparing wines that are made from the same varietals, produced at Zonin1821’s Estate in Jefferson’s home region and at the family’s holdings in Italy. We also aim to highlight the role of terroir, in wines whose viti-vinicultural techniques
and cultural background share common foundations.

Estates Involved