I teach Pinot Boutique’s “Wines of the American Revolution” class. In this class, we learn about the Founding Fathers and what they were drinking, and we sample three of today’s wines from our region that are similar to those the FF’s enjoyed. We also paint a picture of 18th Century Philadelphia and its drinking scene, and follow the stories of the two Continental Congresses and the subsequent Constitutional Congress–all of which occurred mere blocks from Pinot Boutique–and the American Revolution itself.
I loved creating the curriculum for this class, and have become a Revolutionary War buff in the process. For most of my life, I wasn’t much interested in the Revolution. Too old-fashioned, too slow, no photos or You-Tube. But now I’m hooked. The FF’s were brilliant, fascinating people. What they accomplished was incredible. And so much of it happened right here, and you can go and see the places where this stuff all went down for yourself.
It’s now a hobby of mine to find out anything I can about the Founding Fathers and alcohol. How many taverns were there in Philadelphia at the time? What was in Jefferson’s wine cellar? How many toasts did they raise over at City Tavern after adjourning the First Continental Congress? And I’ve learned to tell the story of the American Revolution in narrative format. Bunker Hill? Saratoga? It all makes sense now. The puzzle pieces fit together.
Intertwined with all this has been my study of my own genealogy and ancestors. For years, my mother has been bugging me to research our own forefather, Captain Bonette, who came to America to fight for the French and died in the French & Indian War in 1759. I’m so glad I finally did. It turns out he left a 2-year old orphan in Vermont, who ran away as a teenager to join the Continental Army, served as a drum major, and was held as a prisoner-of-war. Two generations later, we had three Bonette brothers serving in the Civil War. Pretty exciting stuff!
So I hope you will join me some Saturday afternoon so we can share Philadelphia’s story, and the country’s story, and my story–and maybe your story!–and drink some good, interesting wine together.