Jefferson, Wine, and Democracy: A Tale of Aspirations and Frustrations

Date & Time

December 28, 2018 @ 1:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.


A unique Belk Bowl More Than the Score Pre-Football Game lecture featuring the University of South Carolina and University of Virginia graduate Kathryn (Kay) Neeley, Professor in UVA’s School of Engineering to speak before the big game!

Thomas Jefferson is described as both the “architect of liberty” and “the great patron and promoter of American wine for Americans,” but he also called politics “a torment” and the cultivation of grapes “the parent of misery.” In both domains, he articulated an inspiring vision of what could be achieved and encountered both failure and frustration. Kay Neeley will explore the interplay of wine and democracy in Jefferson’s life and American history and focus on the events and advancements that led to the flourishing winemaking enterprise we have in Virginia today.

Jefferson’s taste in wine was formed during his 1787 tour of the south of France and northern Italy. In the tasting that will follow the talk, we will sample some of Jefferson’s favorite French wines along with some of the outstanding wines produced in Virginia.

Light Fare Reception and Cash Bar 1:30 – 2:00 p.m.

Lecture & Wine Tasting 2:00 – 3:00 p.m.



Kathryn Neeley

Associate Professor of Science, Technology & Society, School of Engineering & Applied Science, University of Virginia

Ph.D., English Literature, Language, and Pedagogy, University of Virginia, 1989

M.A., English, University of Virginia, 1979

B.A., English, University of South Carolina, 1976

Kathryn Neeley has been on the faculty of the School of Engineering & Applied Science since 1979 and might be best described as a recovering English major who found her calling in the most unexpected of places: engineering. She began her career as a writer, editor, and producer who worked on research teams in materials science and chemical engineering and developed print and video materials to promote SEAS research programs. These experiences provided her with both a broad view and a first-hand knowledge of engineering research, design, and culture. She is inspired by the potential of technology to promote human flourishing and by an understanding of engineering as a potentially ideal combination of practicality and vision.