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Patricia Kluge leaves her Virginia winery

Patricia Kluge has left the winery she used to own a year after US property billionaire and former presidential candidate Donald Trump bought it in a foreclosure deal.

Trump Winery: ‘finest in the country’

Kluge built the 800ha Charlottesville, Virginia estate in 1985 with her husband John Kluge, who was named America’s richest man in 1987 by Forbes. She took possession as part of her divorce settlement in 1990, and started work on a lavish winery in 1999.

With the services of Bordeaux consultant Michel Rolland the winery – near Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello Estate and now called Trump Winery – garnered positive, if not glowing, reviews.

But from 2008 Kluge was in difficulty. She declared bankruptcy in June 2011.

Trump bought the auctioned vineyard for US$6.2m, and installed his son Eric to run the business. Kluge, a longtime friend of Trump senior, accepted an offer to remain as its VP of operations and to assist the younger Trump.

Now, the New York Post reports, Kluge has been relieved of her full time duties; her husband Bill Moses retains his position as general manager.

‘We are still working with her a little bit, and we still have a good relationship with Patricia,’ Donald Trump said. Kluge told the Washington Post there was no bad blood between her and the Trumps.

‘I will be forever grateful to Donald for saving the winery,’ she reportedly said.

Eric Trump said, ‘We have 300 acres (121ha) under vine, which puts us the largest winery on the East Coast’ and declared his intention to develop the property into ‘one of the finest vineyards in the country’, and to convert the property’s mansion into a luxury hotel.

Written by David Furer

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