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When the Portuguese community in the United States recently celebrated the Independence of America by making a toast with Madeira Wine, they were far from imagining that a rare old collection of Madeira bottles from 1796 would be found in NJ. The rare find happened when a construction crew demolished a wall at the Liberty Hall Museum of Kean University in NJ.

As CNN and other local news outlets reported, Historians and museum workers have been renovating Liberty Hall Museum, originally just called Liberty Hall, which was home to New Jersey’s first elected governor and signer of the Constitution, William Livingston.

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In the 18th century, Madeira and Port Wines were some of the best wines to be shipped overseas, due to the characteristics and the longevity of the Madeira Wine it was the prevalent wine in the ceremonies of the 13 colonies. Madeira was the drink of choice to commemorate the signing of the US Declaration of Independence.

Madeira Wine (A sweet, fortified wine)

Madeira wine has often been used to mark special occasions and is still  greatly appreciated in the USA and throughout the world in celebratory occasions. Two years ago the current Portuguese Ambassador in Washington DC, Domingos Fezas Vital, took the initiative to make a “Toast to America” and celebrate the Independence of America with Madeira wine, in all the Portuguese Consulates in the US.

Madeira wine is also the reference drink in the Feast of the Blessed Sacrament in New Bedford, MA which for many is considered “the world’s largest Portuguese feast “. Every year, several large casks of Madeira wine are imported from Madeira to be consumed in the festivities. This year, the 103rd Feast of the Blessed Sacrament takes place from August 3rd to the 6th.

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President of the Feast of the Blessed Sacrament, Steve Duarte, receiving the new Madeira wine for this year’s feast. Video: 103rd Feast of the Blessed Sacrament

With the discovery of this rare collection of Madeira bottles, the Portuguese-American communities in the US have another great occasion to celebrate with one of the cherished relics from our ancestors.

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Cheers!!! From the Feel Portugal In USA team.

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About Author

Paulo Martins and Feligenio Medeiros are the co-founders and editors of the digital magazine FEEL PORTUGAL IN THE USA.

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