So let the naming games begin: Donald Trump has purchased the Kluge Estate winery and vineyard near Monticello, apparently as a “white knight” investor to keep Patricia Kluge and her husband, Bill Moses, in charge of the winery. Trump purchased the bulk of the estate April 7 in a foreclosure auction, and told The Washington Post he would keep Kluge involved. (As I first noted last November on the Post's All We Can Eat food blog, Kluge and Moses were reportedly trying to interest Trump in the property shortly after their bank called the loan.)
While Kluge and Moses may remain, Trump told the Post he would rename the winery. Will it be Truge Estate? Trumpicello? Will he replace the cameo of Patricia's image on the New World Red (see photo) with his own mug shot? Since he’s promoting the “birther” controversy over President Obama’s citizenship, maybe he’ll try to convince us the vineyard isn’t really in Virginia after all.
Whatever he calls it, he paid Trump Change. Kluge and Moses lost the sprawling estate last fall in a spectacular bankruptcy when their bank called in a $35 million loan on more than 900 acres they owned south of Charlottesville, not far from the historic estates of Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe. According to Charlottesville wine blogger Richard Leahy, Trump and another unidentified bidder split the estate - total bidding price was a mere $8.07 million.
Trump’s parcel included the winery and the vineyards, at more than 160 acres planted, Virginia’s largest. “I’m really interested in good real estate, not so much in wine,” Trump told the Post in an phone interview after the auction. “This place had a $28 million mortgage on it, and I bought it for $6.2 million.”
Wonder what he’ll charge for the wine ...
(This post originally appeared in slightly different form on The Washington Post's All We Can Eat blog on April 8.)