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Jan 30, 2024 Washington, D.C.

The White House Historical Association released a new episode of The White House 1600 Sessions podcast today featuring a conversation on the long and important history of wine for presidents’ palates and life in the White House. Sitting in the wine cellar at The Jefferson hotel, just blocks from the White House, Stewart McLaurin, president of the Association, chats with Frederick J. Ryan, chairman of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Institute (RRPFI) and director of RRPFI’s new Center on Public Civility, about the new edition of Ryan’s book published with the Association, Wine and the White House: A History. The conversation touches on the features of the new edition, such as every president’s experience of wine, the favorite vintages served at the White House, and the art of giving a toast.

“Social diplomacy from the very beginning of our nation has been a vital part of who we are when we invite foreign heads of government or heads of state to the White House,” said McLaurin. “Important issues are discussed at meetings throughout the day, so State Dinners are a way for the president and his counterpart to relax the conversation with a glass of wine.”

From the times of Temperance and Prohibition to the temporary hold on social events during the pandemic, the serving of wine and its use as a tool of protocol and persuasion has stood the test of time. McLaurin and Ryan take listeners on a journey through history to reveal the unique role wine plays in presidential entertaining and social diplomacy, such as State Dinners and toasts.

“Virtually every president has a story about wine, so the book appeals to all of us who are foodies or wine enthusiasts who want to see how the presidents paired foods with wine and how that has evolved over the years,” said Ryan. “We also have the menus and every wine that's been served in the modern presidency so you can get your friends together and do an Obama dinner or a Truman dinner or all of them, if you’d like.”

The full video of this podcast episode is also available on the White House Historical Association’s YouTube channel.

The White House 1600 Sessions podcast is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Spotify.

To pre-order a copy of the second edition of Wine and the White House: A History, visit https://shop.whitehousehistory.org/.

For more information, please contact press@whha.org.

The White House 1600 Sessions

The White House Historical Association’s President Stewart McLaurin is the host of The White House 1600 Sessions, the Association’s official audio and video podcast devoted to exploring the history, cultural impact, untold stories, and personal accounts of America’s most iconic residence and highest office.

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About the White House Historical Association

First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy envisioned a restored White House that conveyed a sense of history through its decorative and fine arts. She sought to inspire Americans, especially children, to explore and engage with American history and its presidents. In 1961, the nonprofit, nonpartisan White House Historical Association was established to support her vision to preserve and share the Executive Mansion’s legacy for generations to come. Supported entirely by private resources, the Association’s mission is to assist in the preservation of the state and public rooms, fund acquisitions for the White House permanent collection, and educate the public on the history of the White House. Since its founding, the Association has given more than $115 million to the White House in fulfillment of its mission.

To learn more about the White House Historical Association, please visit WhiteHouseHistory.org.

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