Donald Trump buys Kluge winery
- Monday 11 April 2011
Patricia Kluge and William J Moses. Image: Virginia Business
Kluge, former wife of John Kluge, named the richest man in America by Forbes in 1987, was forced to sell due to financial problems.
She built the 800ha Kluge estate with her husband in 1985, and took possession as part of her divorce settlement in 1990.
In 1999, she build what she hoped was going to be a ‘world-class’ winery, along with her new husband William J Moses.
She secured the services of renowned Bordeaux consultant Michel Rolland and the winery – south of Charlottesville and near Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello Estate – garnered positive, if not glowing, reviews.
Around 80ha were planted to Bordeaux varieties Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc, and white grapes. There was an elaborate tasting room known as the Farm Shop.
Kluge’s sparkling wines, the SP Blanc de Blancs and SP Rosé, were served at Chelsea Clinton’s wedding in 2010.
By 2008 however, Kluge’s expansion plans and the recession sent the winery into difficulties.
By February this year Kluge owed Bank of America US$23m. The bank bought the estate for US$15.26m.
Donald Trump – a candidate for the Republican Party presidential nomination – has now bought the winery at auction. He intends to keep his friend Patricia Kluge and her husband on the staff to run the operation.
Trump told the Washington Post, 'I'm really interested in good real estate, not so much in wine’, adding about Kluge, ‘She has a great instinct for wine, which I don’t.'
The wine will be rebranded in the Trump name.