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The Washington Post publisher tells a comprehensive story of the American presidents through the grapes and glasses they drank from.”


“. . . lavishly illustrated and strictly bipartisan . . . the book delves widely . . . into how presidents have chosen to highlight ceremonies, foster diplomacy, and heavily promote the American wine industry long before the world viewed the U.S. as a serious producer.”


“. . . to date, no one has tackled such a comprehensive volume as Wine and the White House: A History . . .

It’s a fun bipartisan read for the times. And without no debate: we could all use that.”


“Next time you drink a California cabernet, make a toast to President Lyndon B. Johnson: He helped popularize American wines by refusing to serve European bottles at state dinners. You’ll find this and other fun facts in Wine and the White House: A History.”


“. . . fascinating . . . an in-depth look from an inside source at the sometimes-colorful story of wine in the president’s residence.”


“Wine and the White House is a big book, beautifully produced, generously illustrated, and full of
information . . . Wine and history pair very well indeed.”


In WINE AND THE WHITE HOUSE: A History, Frederick, J. Ryan, Jr., traces the rich history and role of wine at the president’s table. On February 16, 2024, the White House Historical Association will publish a second edition of the book, which includes a new chapter on President Joe Biden’s use of wine in official entertaining, a stunning new cover, and a new spread on Château Margaux, which has had a long and unique association with America and its presidents.

WINE AND THE WHITE HOUSE takes readers on a journey through history to reveal just how influential wine has been to diplomatic relations and social entertaining at the White House, complete with illustrated menus, bills of sale, historic photographs, and new photography of the White House Collection of wine glasses, goblets, carafes, coolers, and decanters.

Early presidents recognized the important function wine played in entertaining at the White House. While some appreciated and enjoyed wine, others considered it merely a ceremonial necessity. Still others campaigned to outlaw wine and banned it from the White House; their successors celebrated its return. More recently, all presidents, regardless of whether they enjoyed wine themselves, have used the White House as a venue to showcase the fine wines produced in the United States.

The book opens with information about every president’s experience of wine in the White House and goes on to explore how presidents selected wines and how wine has been acquired, stored, and served in the White House. It also shares information about the grape varietals and growing regions around the world that have furnished wine throughout the history of the White House and includes reflections from some of the most prominent winemakers operating in these regions today.

“Wine lovers know that much more goes into the experience of fine wine than simply the drink itself,” writes Ryan in the book’s introduction. “The glass, décor, food, ambiance, and company all contribute, especially in a setting as stunning and memorable as a formal White House dinner.” A richly illustrated history of the glassware and service pieces used at the White House, photos from notable presidential toasts, and menu cards from historic White House gatherings create a sense of such an atmosphere. For readers interested in learning about the specific wines and vintages served at the White House since WWII, the final chapter contains a comprehensive list, the first of its kind.

WINE AND THE WHITE HOUSE illustrates how wine, carefully selected and served, has become much more than a pleasant drink to sip with meals: It plays an important role in White House hospitality, the nation’s diplomacy, and America’s history.

Books have been published on several aspects of life in the White House, including music, food, art, and entertaining, but never before has an entire volume been devoted to wine. Whether you are a devotee of presidential history, a lover of wine, or a fan of both, WINE AND THE WHITE HOUSE is both informative and entertaining.

About Frederick J. Ryan, Jr.

Frederick J. Ryan, Jr., the former publisher and CEO of the Washington Post and founding CEO of Politico, has been an aficionado of both wine and White House history for most of his life. Growing up in Italy and California, he developed an early interest in wine and its production and has extensively studied winemaking and its history in the years since. He has been fortunate to develop friendships with winemakers across the globe, to travel to most of the world’s great wine regions, and to participate in a winemaking venture in Napa Valley. Ryan’s fascination with wine parallels his lifelong interest in the American presidency. He served in a senior staff position in the Ronald Reagan White House and as former President Reagan’s chief of staff. As a media executive in Washington, D.C., he has had a front-row seat to presidential history as it has been made by multiple administrations. Ryan currently serves as chairman of the White House Historical Association’s White House Endowment and Acquisition Trust, the Board of Trustees of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation, and the Wine Committee of the Metropolitan Club of Washington, D.C. He is a trustee of the University of Southern California, the National Geographic Society, and Ford’s Theatre. He is the editor of Ronald Reagan: The Wisdom and Humor of the Great Communicator (1995) and Ronald Reagan: The Great Communicator (2001). Ryan lives with his wife Genevieve in the Washington, D.C., area, where they have raised their three daughters, Genevieve, Madeline, and Caroline.

P.D.F. Resources

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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