Courtesy of Liberty Hall Museum
Cailey Rizzo
July 11, 2017

The Liberty Hall Museum in New Jersey has unearthed bottles of wine almost as old as the United States itself.

During a six-month renovation process, the museum found three cases of Madeira wine from 1796 and 42 demijohns from the 1820s in their wine cellar.

The wine was shipped to Liberty Hall in anticipation of John Adams’ inauguration in 1797.

Courtesy of Liberty Hall Museum

"We knew there was a lot of liquor down here, but we had no idea as to the age of it,” Liberty Hall’s president, John Kean, told NJ.com. “I think the most exciting part of it was to find liquor, or Madeira in this case, that goes back so far. And then trying to trace why it was here and who owned it.”

Over 200 years later, the wine was tested and deemed drinkable by The Rare Wine Co. in California. Kean said that those who enjoy sweet sherry wines would enjoy this vintage. The museum now estimates that its Madeira collection is the largest in the country, although it declined to reveal the collection’s monetary value.

Courtesy of Liberty Hall Museum

Madeira was a popular drink in the 1800s because it was easy to ship and would rarely spoil when coming in on boats from Portugal. Even the founding fathers toasted to the signing of the Declaration of Independence with a glass of Madeira.

The Liberty Hall Museum was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1973. Since then, it has undergone several restorations and currently contains several different styles of rooms that exemplify American style and history since the Revolutionary War.

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