Don’t Count on Obama as the “Wine President”

Obama wine president
I am starting to be a bit concerned with the mountains of hope that are being heaped upon our president elect. Besides the hope that he will be a new kind of president, a war ending president, an economy mixing president, a health-care fixing president and truly green president, it also appears there is hope running around the wine industry that he will be a "Wine President".

The evidence that Obama is something of a connoisseur or even a simple wine lover is, I think, quite scant.  What we have is a People Magazine article in which a bottle of Kendall Jackson wine is seen in a photo sitting on a counter in the Obama home. Then we have the fact that the Obama's home in Chicago has a 1000-bottle wine cellar. Taken together, what this means is that the Obama bought a very nice home and drink wine occasionally. But I don't think it means that Obama will necessarily be the Wine-Lover-In-Chief.

Over the past few weeks I've spoke with three different wineries that are actively angling to get their wines in the White House or in inaugural events. Achieving the latter isn't so tough to do as long as you don't have your sights set on the official events and are willing to have your wine served at balls sponsored by industries, associations and interest groups. Still, there is a sense that this president will be a real "Wine President". I don't think we should get our hopes up.

Today the Santa Rosa Press Democrat ran a story by Kevin McCallum that outlines the No Sponsorship policies that the Obama transition team has placed on the official balls and events associated with the inauguration. Still, it looks like Korbel will continue to be the American Sparkling wine of choice for the inaugural events.

I'm sure the new president will, like most recent presidents, highlight American wines at state dinners and such. And I suspect, and hope, that the wines of Illinois will be highlighted in the White House. But what I don't expect is any public display of wine loving on the part of Barack Obama. And that's OK. Despite the fact that he could single handedly give the American wine industry a bump by proclaiming his love of our wines and being willing to associate himself with wine drinking, I think we have a better chance of him living up to the hope that he will be the Economy Fixing or War Ending or Green President.

8 Responses

  1. Epicuria - January 12, 2009

    Duckhorn is being poured at the Inaugural lunch, along with Korbel. I wonder why Duckhorn

  2. Arthur - January 12, 2009

    I agree, people have been putting messianic expectations on this guy.
    “Still, it looks like Korbel will continue to be the American Sparkling wine of choice for the inaugural events.”
    What happened to Iron Horse?

  3. Strappo - January 12, 2009

    Somehow the wine industry might not be at the top of his to-do list. I’ll hope that it ISN’T.

  4. Dylan - January 12, 2009

    Are there any incidences in the past of president’s showing an open endorsement toward a specific product or industry?

  5. Rob - January 13, 2009

    @Arthur – Agreed 100%. He’s already way to busy to worry about vino.

  6. tish - January 14, 2009

    Reagan had jelly beans. Bush 1 hated broccoli. W teetotaled.
    If we’re looking for a new public advocate for wine, he/she is more likely to come from the culinary world. Better yet, celebrity.
    Unless Mike Thompson gets the new nod for Commerce Secretary now that Richardson withdrew… (I think Steve Heimoff had a small post on that a while back.)
    Meanwhile, it is interesting that Korbel could still slip in as “official” anything. Speaking of which, is Korbel still the official Champagne of the Millennium? And doesn’t that seem like a century ago?…

  7. Wine Packaging - January 16, 2009

    Awww, thats too bad! I thought Obama was an All around “Wine Guy”!!!!!….?
    – Semie Lee
    Professional Wine Packaging

  8. Lew Bryson - January 20, 2009

    Sorry, folks: Obama’s a beer guy. We’ve got that from the Chicago spots he frequents. We’re not expecting anything special from him, though: we realize that as the occupier of the White House, his hands are tied. Wine totalitarianism will continue to rule state dinners, have no fear.
    When do we get another bourbon president?

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