President Donald Trump owns a lot of property and has licensed his name to many different businesses. One of those properties is a winery, which is, unsurprisingly, called the Trump Winery.
The business has floated in and out of the headlines since the Trump family took over the winery in 2011, when Trump was a contender for the 2012 presidential election. Since the 2016 race and his subsequent election, the winery has made even more news with controversy and bouts of success.
Here is everything you need to know when you see Trump Winery in the headlines.
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Where is Trump Winery?
Trump Winery is in Charlottesville, Virginia. It’s less than 10 miles from Thomas Jefferson’s historic Monticello estate, and around 75 miles from Richmond, Virginia.
When did it start?
The original winery was started in 1999 by Patricia Kluge, the former wife of multibillionaire John W. Kluge. It was called the Kluge Estate Winery and Vineyard, and it quickly rose to fame, according to Forbes. Kluge wines won numerous awards for quality and were served at Chelsea Clinton’s wedding.
While Kluge was expanding, however, the housing crisis hit. The price of the vineyard was set at $19 million at auction soon after, but no one bought it, and Farm Creditor of Virginia repossessed the property.
Who owns Trump Winery now?
Donald Trump purchased the Kluge Estate Winery and Vineyard at a foreclosure auction in 2012 for $6.2 million. According to The Washington Post, Trump said at the time, “It’s only Trump, everything is Trump!”
Trump also said, “I’m really interested in good real estate, not so much in wine. This place had a $28 million mortgage on it, and I bought it for $6.2 million. It’s a Trump deal!”
Trump Winery has since changed hands. According to the Trump Winery website, “Trump Winery is a registered trade name of Eric Trump Wine Manufacturing LLC, which is not owned, managed or affiliated with Donald J. Trump, The Trump Organization or any of their affiliates.”
What was the controversy over foreign workers about?
In December 2016, the month before President Trump was inaugurated, Eric Trump and the Trump Vineyard Estates requested visas for foreign workers to tend the vineyard. This was after President Trump ran an “America first” presidential campaign — primarily regarding jobs, but also regarding tax benefits and trade. He also famously said that Mexican immigrants were rapists, which caused media organizations to question his son’s decision to bring in six foreign workers.
Visas are signed off on by the Departments of Labor, State, and Homeland Security, and Trump appoints the heads of those departments. That was cause for concern for some Virginia wine makers, according to NPR.
In February, Trump Winery applied for 23 additional worker visas, the The Daily Progress reported. A total of 29 foreign workers were brought on.
What type of wine does Trump Winery make?
Trump Winery sells sparkling, white, red, and rosé wine. First Lady Melania Trump wine is a Slovenian wine not associated with the Trump family or the winery.
- 2010 Blanc de Blanc produced using méthode champenoise from estate-grown Chardonnay grapes.
- 2012 Sparkling Rosé produced from estate-grown Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes.
- 2009 Sparkling Reserve produced from estate-grown Chardonnay.
- 2016 Chardonnay produced using estate-grown grapes.
- 2016 Sauvignon Blanc produced using grapes from an estate in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
- 2015 Viognier produced using grapes from Carter’s Mountain in the Monticello American Viticultural Area.
- Fortified Chardonnay produced using Chardonnay and brandy, then aged in bourbon barrels.
- 2016 Rosé produced from 70 percent Merlot and 30 percent Pinot Noir grapes from an estate in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
- 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon produced using estate-grown grapes.
- 2014 New World Reserve produced using 52 percent Merlot, 28 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 12 percent Petit Verdot, and 8 percent Malbec.
What does it taste like?
Reviews of Trump wine are mixed. In early 2016, VinePair held a taste test of the Blanc de Blanc, Viognier, New World Reserve, and the now-out-of-stock Meritage with the wine director of the Manhattan restaurant Piora. In general, the wines tasted mediocre and cheap. The price of the wines has since increased, respectively, by $8, $4, and $24.
Erin Scala, a sommelier at Petit Pois in Charlottesville, had a more generous opinion. In the Washington Post in 2016, Scala wrote that some of the wines are good and worth the price, but that the wines’ “association with the GOP frontrunner is likely to keep them off wine lists they otherwise belong on.”
Where can you buy Trump wine?
Wine can be purchased online. Trump Winery ships to California, Colorado, D.C., Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, and Washington.
Wine can also be purchased locally in supermarkets. The wine has been known to sell out, however, as was the case in Virginia’s Wegman Supermarkets after a call by the National Organization for Women to boycott Trump Winery backfired.