Entertainer-in-Chief: Part II, Schramsberg at the White House

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Schramsberg is an iconic American sparkling wine and it’s no surprise that it as been poured at the White House over 100 times. Last week, I caught up with Hugh Davies on the phone to ask him about the experiences for this second installment of our two-part mini-series, Entertainer-in-Chief. Two instances stood out to me of serving Schramsberg at state events.

Hugh, 42, told me that in 1972, his dad, Jack, got word from the Nixon White House that they would need 13 cases of Schramsberg 1969 blanc de blanc. And those cases had to be delivered to Travis Air Force Base. Hugh said that it was all a bit mysterious but his dad loaded up the cases into his jeep, drove them over to the Base where he got paid and left the wine.

Then three weeks later, images of Nixon’s historic trip to China were broadcast back to the US. And there was good old Nixon raising a glass of Schramsberg with Premier Zhou En Lai in a “toast to peace.” Hugh said that Barbara Walters reported from Tiananmen Square that Nixon and Zhou had just toasted with the Schramsberg “blank de blank.” Thirteen cases must have kept the whole delegation happy!

In what would be a bookend to state dinners and Schramsberg during Hugh’s mom’s lifetime, the Schramsberg brut rose 2004 was served at the state dinner with Queen Elizabeth II in Washington last year. The Teetoaler-in-Chief did not call and there was no drop-off at an AFB. Instead, the head usher just ordered it through the local distributor and Hugh didn’t even know it was being served.

Image credit, click through for more photos from the historic trip including this one, no doubt after the 13 cases of Schramsberg.

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6 Responses to “Entertainer-in-Chief: Part II, Schramsberg at the White House”


  1. Wow, that must make your head spin knowing that your wine is being served at a historic global event.

    (It can’t be bad for business either, right?)


  2. Do you think the Chinese knew a good “Blank de Blank” when they tried it? Maybe that’s why Nixon got along so well with them?


  3. Thanks for the history. I love reading about the history of California wine and Schramsberg champagne is iconic. I really enjoyed this piece.


  4. Hello Tyler,

    Wow great article, Yes I just wrote one on Jamie too, I was not aware however the Register had called her Grand Dame too! I was working outside Travis a couple of hundred yards form the flight line back in those Vietnam days. It was that tasting in China that peaked my curiosity and I made the trip over to the winery for the first time to try that stuff which started a lifetime romance. I still get a kick out of those old fashioned glasses it was one of the last time those were used and soon after the flute was the glass of choice!


  5. merc à toi pour ces images ;)


  6. […] Quite a shift from 1972, when Richard Nixon visited. At a state dinner with Zhou Enlai, it was Nixon who provided the wine. From the wine blog Dr. Vino: […]


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