Some people witnessed the inauguration in the bitter cold sans vino. Others in D. C. preferred to watch it on the big screen with a glass of wine in hand.

At Proof, a restaurant and wine bar not far from the hoopla, nearly 120 people stood up and sang with Aretha Franklin “My Country Tis of Thee.” No, the crowd wasn’t on key. No one said it was pretty, but it was a surprising stroke of patriotism. At least that’s the way wine director Sebastian Zutant tells it.

Zutant, who’s spent time in Wine Country, represents Northern California well on his wine list of 1,200 bottlings, with 32 by glass offerings. “California and France are running neck and neck, followed by Italy, Spain and New Zealand,” he said. Cult cabs on the list include Colgin and Dominus. Highbrow chardonnays feature Marcassin, Peter Michael, Robert Young and Tandem.

Zutant worked with Greg La Follete of Tandem on the 2006 chardonnays and pinot noirs and knows the people in the region have long been immersed in the wine culture. “The birth of the wine bar is definitely young in D.C.,” he said. “The 20 to 35-year olds are past drinking beers and doing shots – the younger people are really discovering and enjoying wine.” Proof is reportedly one of the hottest places to sip and the name comes from the Benjamin Franklin quote that wine “is proof that God loves us and wants to see us happy.”