Trump Winery Open for Business!

Tuesday, October 4th, heralds the grand opening (or re-0pening) of the former Kluge Estate Winery  in Albemarle County, Virginia under a new name,  (can you guess it?)  Trump Winery.  Donald Trump’s son, Eric Trump is President  and Patricia Kluge and her husband William Moses will serve as Vice Presidents of the winery.  Attending the celebration were the aforementioned, as well as Governor Bob McDonnell. The Governor  has played a key role in promoting Virginia wines in the United States as well as Europe and soon will be encouraging business with Israel. According to Todd Haymore,  Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry,  McDonnell and Virginia’s first lady,  Maureen McDonnell are credited  with helping boost Virginia’s wine sales.  The McDonnell administration  passed a program giving tax credits to individuals establishing or expanding wineries and vineyards in the Commonwealth.

The media were present to photograph, video and ask questions of Donald Trump, and I  found him to be just like he is on television-assertive and gregarious, but better looking in person!  There is no question that Trump knows how to deal with the media.  When asked by  reporters why Donald could make this venture successful when Patricia Kluge could not, he came to her defense in typical “Trumpian” manner and explained that he had the advantage of not having a mortgage! Touche! Another question regarded the intentions of the real estate aspect of his investment . 

Mr. Trump  said  he planned to keep the property “high-end”.  When a reporter from The Hook asked about Albemarle House, Donald Trump tossed the question back and asked him if he would want to buy such a big house on such little property! We know who owns the surrounding estate!   He is still in the market for Albemarle House but feels the bank  has it valued too high. 

 

 
 

 After answering several questions, the baton was then passed to his son for details about the winery itself.    Patricia Kluge joined Eric at the microphone and remarked on her role in the business.  Geraldine Fabrikant, a senior writer for Business Day at The New York Times, interviewed  Patricia Kluge  recently and found her to be, not surprisingly, quite resilient and up to the task of re-establishing herself in the wine industry. Subsequently, Eric Trump stepped aside allowing Gov. McDonnell  to praise the wine industry in Virginia.

Ultimately, Donald and Eric  Trump and Patricia Kluge  plan to expand the vineyards and employ new marketing ideas to the wines and their labels.  They refused to elaborate and left it as a surprise for wine lovers.  Additionally, Eric mentioned the potential for  “hundreds” of jobs associated with the growth of the winery. 

No matter what locals think, the Trump name creates fervor and  excitement in a realtively sedate area of Virginia. I know it  certainly was fun for me to sit in the Trump   helicopter even though I couldn’t wrangle a ride out of the pilot!  The pilot  did however mention that he loved  flying over our  scenic Virginia wine country!  Planning a trip to Charlottesville?  A must-do after visiting  Monicello, home of Thomas Jefferson,  is  the new  Trump Winery and the neighboring  vineyards  owned by Dave Matthews,  Blenheim Winery!

Kluge Wine, Going, Going….Get it Before It’s…Gone!

Vacant Seats

Albemarle Simply…Gone? 

Most people in the Charlottesville area are fully aware that the remaining wine at Kluge has been rapidly flowing out the doors and into car trunks on a daily basis. The last time we  visited The Kluge Farm Shop,  1500 cases of the Albemarle Simply Red 2007 remained.  All of the white wine that was to be offered had been included in the recent auction of the property.  As of the moment, no one has purchased the magnificent manor on the hill, Albemarle House.  Who the new owner will be is anyone’s guess, but rumours abound with Donald Trump’s  name at the center.  According to some of the people who are now employed by “Grand Cru”,  there are under 1000 cases remaining and the last day for sales could be as early as May 6th, if not, May 9th.  Bottom line is that it won’t last forever!  At the all time low price of 2 cases for $90, you just can’t beat it!

Employed or Unemployed? 

After a few visits to Kluge, my husband and I were impressed by the staff at the Farm Shop and most specifically by Tammy Cavanaugh!  These employees are waiting to hear if they still have a job in the next couple of  weeks.  Hoisting heavy boxes of wine and laughing as if she knew what the future held  for her, she kept a light hearted, cheerful  attitude  amid a rather sad situation. We wanted to find out more about Tammy and what she had accomplished in her life outside of wine. After chatting with her, we found out that she has two autistic sons. She took the initiative to be  aggressive about their education and future. 

 Tammy started a non-profit organization, The  Charlottesville Youth Learning Academy, to help at-risk youths participate in project-based learning activities that  bolster their academic career and life skills.  YLA   has created programs focusing on the construction and motorsports industries to prepare their students for successful careers upon graduation.

Listen to Tammy on the video clip below:

They have received grants from The University of Virginia and have gotten involved with NASCAR with their Race 2 Sucess program. This is a dynamic lady who is a real asset to any organization and our suggestion to Mr. Trump would be,You’re Hired!” 

Be sure to say hi to Tammy when you stop in at Kluge and hurry up because the wine,  like the property, will be Going, Going…Gone!

Trump Buys Kluge Estate and Winery

Cville gets “Trumped”

For over 200 years,  Charlottesville, Virginia’s claim to fame has been the home of Thomas Jefferson,  3rd President of the United States and co-author of the Declaration of Independence. Henceforth, another high-profile name will be associated with Charlottesville. Today, Donald  “The Donald”  Trump  achieved quite a coup in purchasing over 647 acres in the piedmont wine country of Virginia for a mere 6.2 million dollars.

Valued at over 28 million dollars, the largest tract included 647+/- acre tract of  planted vines, event pavilion, large office barn, a carriage museum, and three cottages ideal for staff or guest accommodations. 60+/- acres of clear land that has ideal slope and elevation for future planting.  Tract 3,  a 131.7+/- acres tract contains the original vineyard as well as the winery production building, 2 2BD/1BA cottages, a barrel cave that can hold approximately 500 barrels, and a modular office. 

J.P. King Auction Company, Inc., the oldest real estate auction company in the United States conducted the auction. A video of the Kluge Estate and Winery offers the public a glimpse of the exquisite property that fell under the same circumstances encountered by many during these tough economic times.  Donald Trump was poised and ready to capitalize on an incredible investment opportunity… and he succeeded.
During  a recent PVCC viticulture class, I had the chance to prune some vines under the tutelage of Chris Hill and Gabrielle Rausse. I wonder if Mr. Trump will ever invite me over?  That might have been my first and last tour of the Kluge vineyard.
Locals can only speculate what plans Trump has for Kluge. Will his name be the new label? Will it be Gold??   Highly likely considering past history.  One thing is certain, Virginia’s wine country and Charlottesville will gain more international attention with the Trump branding.

Church on Kluge Estate

 We are an understated area, elegant and quiet, will Charlottesville ever be the same?