April 13, 1743: On this day, Thomas Jefferson, the third U.S. President, was born. Over the course of his study of law, he developed a love for wine, which he carried throughout his life. He built a wine cellar in his home and stayed in France for years, at which time he visited numerous wine estates. He served as George Washington’s wine advisor before becoming president.
April 13, 1819: Jeanne Alexandrine Louise Mélin was born. When her husband Alexandre died in 1860, she took over the Pommery Champagne house. She bought several limestone and chalk pits beneath Reims that had been dug out during Roman times to keep a huge quantity of wine in a temperature-controlled setting. These pits were not resigned to utilitarian purposes, as Pommery also commissioned an artist to carve a massive bas-relief sculpture of Bacchus into the wall, which helped to decorate and lure tourists to the estate.
For more dates in wine history, click here.