Today, Russia and China appear closer than ever, as seen when Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping fulfilled at the opening of the Winter season Olympics in Beijing. So perhaps it’s fitting to bear in mind the events in the Chinese capital in February 1972, and the function white wine played in changing the world.
About 3 weeks prior to Nixon’s visit, Jack Davies addressed the phone at his house in Calistoga, Calif. A State Department authorities was on the line, asking if Davies could provide 13 cases of his Schramsberg champagne for a diplomatic function in New york city City. Davies took the white wine to Travis Air Force Base, east of Napa, where it was packed onto a military aircraft and sent out east. The white wine was the Schramsberg 1969 Blanc de Blancs, a mix of chardonnay and pinot blanc made in the traditional champagne technique. (Today, Schramsberg’s Blanc de Blancs is all chardonnay.) The sale was completed through MacArthur Beverages, still a leading red wine merchant in D.C.Story continues below ad The Nixon White Home was eager to have as much media protection as possible about his China journey, so different information were launched to the media. In late February, Davies took another call, from a Washington Post press reporter named Maxine Cheshire, who informed him his red wine would be served by Nixon to Chinese leaders at a banquet in Beijing.
” My moms and dads didn’t even actually know Nixon remained in China, “states Hugh Davies, Jack
‘s son who now runs Schramsberg winery.” He had more concerns for her than she had for him.” Then, on the early morning of Feb. 25, a pal called and informed Jack and his better half, Jamie, to switch on their television. They saw Barbara Walters on the “Today”in Beijing, holding a bottle of their wine before the electronic camera and talking about how this”obscure California winery
“had actually played a role in international diplomacy.Story continues below ad
At the end of 4 days of settlements and photo ops in Beijing, Nixon staged a banquet to honor his Chinese hosts in the Great Hall of the People. Pictures of Nixon toasting Premier Zhou Enlai with glasses of Schramsberg red wine were released around the globe. It became called the “Toast to Peace.” It also provided a half-century of marketing power to Schramsberg, which has actually had its red wines served in the White Home by every governmental administration considering that, according to the winery.
Washington Post publisher Fred Ryan, in his book,”Red wine and the White Home: A History,” keeps in mind that Nixon quoted George Washington in his toast that evening.”Observe good faith and justice towards all countries,” he stated.”Cultivate peace and harmony with all.”Originating from the president who kept an opponents list and would later be undone by the Watergate scandal, those words sound disingenuous in hindsight. But half a century later on, they still reflect the twinkle of wish for world peace showed through a glass of California champagne.
The Toast to Peace has actually not fixed itself in American wine lore as much as the Judgment of Paris four years later on, when California white wines bested the very best of France in a blind tasting. However its impact was substantial. Schramsberg’s success, and the promotion it gathered from Nixon’s journey, captured the attention of significant French Champagne houses. Moët & & Chandon, Taittinger, Louis Roederer and Mumm all founded wineries in Northern California following Nixon’s China journey. Not just did the Toast to Peace change international politics, but it gave inspiration to California sparkling wine as we know it today.
Schramsberg has other history as well, predating the Davies family by several decades. Robert Louis Stevenson went to with the residential or commercial property’s creator, Jacob Schram, in the late 1800s, and later on wrote that the white wines tasted “like bottled poetry.” Today, the winery remains among the leading California manufacturers of champagne, including its tête de cuvée, called J. Schram. Most of the grapes for the sparkling wines are grown in coastal vineyards. The vineyards on the Calistoga home, on Diamond Mountain, are now producing cabernet sauvignon under the J. Davies label.Story continues listed below ad
Hugh Davies had actually prepared a check out to Washington to commemorate the anniversary of the Toast to Peace, however canceled due to the fact that of the coronavirus. In a Zoom call, he informed me of a mystery surrounding the legend. Family records show the purchase as 13 cases of wine, but The Post story by Cheshire put it at 15 cases.
“Who do you think?” Davies stated. It’s an irrelevant detail, perhaps, and I believe the White House purchased additional wine from MacArthur’s. However the romantic in me would like to think 2 cases of Schramsberg 1969 were left behind in the Forbidden City, to be delighted in for many years as a suggestion of white wine’s role in promoting good relations in between countries. Sadly, they would have most likely been cleared by now.