On November 23rd 2015, the Ferreira-Mendes Portuguese-American Archives co-hosted with the Clube Madeirense S.S. Sacramento Madeira historian Duarte Mendonça as he presented, to a large audience, his new book titled “American Views on Madeira Wine.” He shared some interesting bits of history related to the relationship between the United States and Madeira wine, including that the founding fathers were lovers of Madeira wine. Apparently during a dinner party hosted by John Quincy Adams, it is reported that the had 11 decanters of Madeira wine on the table, all unlabeled and otherwise indistinguishable to the naked eye, and through sipping and tasting, he was able to correctly identify them all.
Madeira wine has also been called the “independence wine” as it was the beverage drunk” to celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Mendonça, in fact, believes that there may actually have been 13 toasts made and drunk to celebrate the original 13 colonies. He reached this conclusion through a number of subsequent events that he was able to identify and research using primary source materials.
-Sonia Pacheco, Archives Librarian for the Ferreira-Mendes Portuguese-American Archives