A Tale of Two Cellars

It’s an undisputed fact that Ronald Reagan was an oenophile, a true connoisseur of wine. The question is as he evolved from Hollywood actor to Governor of California, to President of the United States – how did this passion develop?

It was back in the 50’s when Reagan was an actor that he started his wine collection. Eventually, over time his wine cellar acquired many notable bottles including 1947 Lafite Rothschild, 1953 Mouton Rothschild, 1947 Haut Brion, and 1962 La Tache.

When his acting career began to wane, Reagan teamed up with GE Electrics to host a series of television programmes including General Electric Theatre, which were very successful. He became GE’s goodwill ambassador spending up to 12 weeks a year touring the company’s plants around the country.

General Electric Theatre made the already well-known Reagan, who had appeared in many films as a “second lead” throughout his career, was now quite wealthy, due to his part ownership of the show. After eight years as host, Reagan estimated, he had visited 135 GE research and manufacturing facilities, and met over a quarter-million people. During that time, he would also speak at other forums such as Rotary clubs and Moose lodges. He would present views on economic progress, that in form and content were often similar to what he said in introductions and closing comments on the show as a spokesman for GE.

Reagan, who would later be known as “The Great Communicator” because of his oratorical prowess, often credited these engagements as helping him develop his public-speaking abilities. It was during these years that his interest, appreciation and wine collecting, gathered momentum.

Hosting the General Electric Theatre had its perks, including a state-of-the-art cellar, with thermostatic controls installed at Reagan’s Pacific Palisades home by his bosses at GE. And also, subsequently in the White House. Ronald Reagan was the first President who could boast of having not one, but two wine cellars in the White House. The President installing thermostatically controlled wine cellars raised awareness for the necessity of sustaining wine cellars at their optimum level, and sparked a rise in their usage.

This time also saw the rise in the popularity of chilled wines. The first FA’s trophy cup was designed as a cooler. Nowadays we don’t have to resort to the domestic version of a bucket of ice to cool our wines.

Check out wine cellar options from our friends at Sorrells Custom Wine Rooms