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Good wine is a necessity of life for me (Quotation)

Quotation: "Good wine is a necessity of life for me."

Variations:

  1.  "Good wine is a necessity of life."
  2.  "Wine is a necessity of life for me."

Sources consulted:

  1. Founders Online
  2. Google/Google Books
  3. Access Newspaper Archive
  4. American Periodicals Series

Earliest appearance in print, attributed to Jefferson: Albert Ellery Bergh and Andrew Adgate Lipscomb, eds., The Writings of Thomas Jefferson (Washington, DC: Thomas Jefferson Memorial Association, 1905), 19:231. 

Comments: This misquotation can be attributed mainly to a mistaken transcription which appeared in the Lipscomb-Bergh edition of Jefferson's writings, published in 1905.  The editors transcribed Jefferson's statement to his agent Thomas Appleton as follows:

"Perhaps I may trouble you annually to about the same about, this being a very favorite wine, and habit having rendered the light and high flowered wines a necessity of life with me."1

This transcription had several errors.  The modern transcription reads as follows:

"perhaps I may trouble you annually to about the same amount, this being a very favorite wine, and habit having rendered the light and high flavored wines a necessary of life with me."2

Many modern secondary sources have altered the quotation even further; it most frequently appears as "good wine is a necessity of life (for me)."  This version dates to at least 1973.3

- Anna Berkes, 2/25/08; revised 1/27/16

  • 1. L&B, 19:231.
  • 2. PTJ:RS, 9:349-51. Transcription available at Founders Online.
  • 3. Kay Marsh, "Speaking of...Grape Expectations," Wheeling (IL) Herald, April 4, 1973.

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