Reporter Nick Mafi explains, “Liberty Hall Museum — which is located on the campus of Kean University, one of New Jersey’s largest state schools — has been going through an extensive renovation,” with the goal of recreating each era of history. Recently, the museum “discovered several cases of Madeira wine from 1796 that had been shipped from Portugal for the celebration of John Adams’ presidency.
“The renovation project, which began in late 2015, included revamping the museum’s wine cellar. That meant replacing the old wine racks and cataloging each bottle. The museum always knew they had bottles of antiquated wine in their possession, they simply never felt compelled to learn how old they were or why they had been purchased.”
“In fact, at one point the wine racks were sealed off due to the Prohibition era of the 1920s. According to an interview with NJ.com, Bill Schroh Jr., director of operations at Liberty Hall, the museum decided to fill a decanter with a sampling from one of the original casks.
“They described the taste to be similar to a sweet sherry wine. Researchers believe the wine was originally purchased in the late 18th century to celebrate the second president of the United States. The researchers came to this conclusion because of the date of the wine, coupled with the fact that Madeira was almost exclusively consumed by the elites of the day, primarily because the liquid traveled so well across the Atlantic Ocean, losing little to no flavor.”