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Centuries-Old Madeira Wine on Display at Liberty Hall Museum

Hand written tags and labels adorned the fine of ancient Madeira wine

The stash of 221-year-old Madeira wine discovered a few years ago at Liberty Hall Museum at Kean University is now the subject of an exhibition, History in a Bottle.

The Liberty Hall display charts the role of wine and spirits, particularly Madeira wine, in the development of the nation, as well as the importance of cork in maintaining the wine’s taste and integrity over the centuries.

VIDEO: Media reports on History in a Bottle from CBS New York and News 12.

“Madeira wine was the wine of choice in the days of our Founding Fathers because it could withstand warm temperatures, long journeys on the high seas to be delivered and was much safer to drink than water,” said Rachael Goldberg, coordinator of museum collections and exhibits at Liberty Hall. “When they toasted the signing of the Declaration of Independence or the U.S. Constitution, it was most likely with a glass of Madeira wine like the ones on display at Liberty Hall.” 

Built in 1772, Liberty Hall was the home of William Livingston, New Jersey’s first elected governor and a signer of the U.S. Constitution. Now part of Kean University, Liberty Hall Museum, a witness to more than 200 years of American history, is located on the University’s main campus in Union.