Trust Donald Trump to sniff out the biggest bargains. The American tycoon just purchased the Kluge Estate Winery and Vineyard off Patricia Kluge, former wife of John Kluge, once the wealthiest man in the United States. Prior to the recession, the property was worth a staggering $70 million. The recession proved cruel for Kluge and Trump bought the property for a measly $7.5 million.
Trump has stated that he is not too interested in wine, only in good real estate. However, he plans to carry on with the winemaking on the estate. He is reportedly discussing the possibility of retaining ex-owners William Moses and Mrs Kluge to carry on running the operations. Moses is an ex-IBM executive who is now married to Kluge. On a personal note, Patricia Kluge and Donald Trump have known each other for several decades now.
Trump’s reasons for retaining Kluge on the winery extend beyond friendship and stem from his own lack of expertise about winemaking. He candidly admits to having no instinct for wine – something that having an expert Kluge on board can counter. As for the wine to be processed from the Kluge Estate Winery and Vineyard, it shall now be sold under the Trump brand name. Patricia Kluge was media baron John Kluge’s third wife. In 1987, he had been named America’s richest man by Forbes magazine. His television and radio empire eventually went on to become the beginnings of Fox. John Kluge died in September last year.
When Patricia and John Kluge divorced, the former acquired some $15 million. She invested most of this money into the Kluge Estate Winery and Vineyard, an award-winning property that is known for its vintage wines. However, the recession made life difficult for Patricia Kluge, who had married Moses by then. In April last year, we had written about how hard times had forced Kluge to conduct a very expensive yard sale. She resorted to selling several pieces of art, antiques and jewelry to raise money. However, that was not enough. Soon enough, her luxury estate went into foreclosure.
Kluge’s $100 million home, the Albemarle House had been put up on sale last year, but there were no takers. The current price is $16 million. The luxury mansion that looks out on to the Blue Ridge Mountains has a wine grotto and a helicopter pad. However, ever the bargain-hunter, Trump still believes that even the $16 million price tag is a little “too steep”.
Meanwhile, many are excited about Trump taking his first steps in the winemaking industry. Todd Haymore, the secretary of agriculture in Virginia, welcomed his move and expressed his belief that if Trump’s experiment with winemaking proved successful, it could take Virginia wine industry to greater heights.
Across the country, there is great respect for the Donald Trump brand name. Jason Greenblatt, a representative of the Trump business empire revealed that the brand stands for luxury and quality. Meanwhile, there is also talk that this could be Trump’s way of building his political significance. The business mogul has been campaigning to get a presidential nomination for the GOP in 2012.