In the course of a restoration project at Liberty Hall Museum, on the grounds of New Jersey's Kean University, researchers stumbled on a trove that would make wine lovers swoon: three cases of Madeira from 1796 and about 42 bottles from the 1820s.
Some of the stock was shipped to America from Portugal in anticipation of John Adams's presidency, which began in 1797, NJ.com reports. And while the museum's president, John Kean, was aware of the wine collection, he didn't know how historically significant it was.
"We knew there was a lot of liquor down here, but we had no idea as to the age of it," Kean said. "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."
While the monetary value of the collection is not available, it is the largest known collection in the United States and among the most comprehensive in the world.
The museum's restoration project, which started in October 2015, included overhauling its wine cellar, rebuilding the antique wine racks, and
Kean, who sampled a taste from one of the original bottles, "said those who like sweet sherry wines will enjoy this aged
Liberty Hall traced the age of wine through handwritten tags on the bottles and receipts.
h/t: Architectural Digest
This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.