Winemaking was slow to start in US
During Thomas Jefferson’s presidency, the U.S. was largely engrossed in drinking pretty gross stuff – hard liquor and a drink known as “grog” that could be any combination of rum, juices and sweet (weak) beer. It was the stuff the British admiralty would ration to their sailors on long voyages. I would imagine they needed something to help numb the discomfort of such a journey.
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