At the Infomercial which passed for a victory speech Tuesday Night after winning in Michigan, Trump hawked his supposed “successes” in business.
A group of products which largely already failed, including “Trump Steaks” which went out of business, “Trump Magazine” which published only 8 issues before folding, Trump Vodka – which failed in 2007, and “Trump Water” which has never been sold commercially.
Lastly was Trump Wine – an overpriced mediocre vintage, which in terms of acreage is one of the larger Vineyards in Virginia…But in sales, doesn’t scratch the Top 5, although it does in volume produced. That means a lot of overpriced, bad wine siting on shelves. The wine has never scored above the low 80’s in any of the industry ratings like Wine Spectator, which puts it at $20-40 a bottle in the category of expensive cooking wine. To those unaware, Virginia has a long and storied history in wine production, and now, after some fits and false starts early on in re-establishing the industry in the state – now produces high quality wines competitive with those from California and Washington. Trump Vineyards best vintage, their bubbly Rose wines don’t carry Trumps name at all, but that of the founder, Patricia Kluge.
I mean…Can you imagine the President of the United States giving a speech to the United Nations…And hawking Trump Blenders in the middle of the speech to the collected world leaders?
While Donald Trump may be famous for his litany of ridiculous boasts and exaggerations, his latest claim to be a top winery owner—made during his speech after the Detroit and Mississippi primaries—may be one of his most laughable.
It’s certainly a perfect example of how The Donald seamlessly mixes truth with fiction to form a narrative that manages to sound plausible when delivered in 30-second sound bites.
Despite begging the assembled media to fact check his statement about the financials of Trump Winery (what else would he call it?), Trump still made a few major mistakes in his description of the establishment.
For one, he claimed the vineyard was “close to 2,000 acres,” while in fact Trump Winery’s own website states that it’s a 1,300- acre estate. And, no, the establishment is not located next to the “Thomas Jefferson Memorial.”
We will assume Trump was talking about Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s home (not the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C.), which is actually several miles from his winery.
His most grandiose claim was that Trump Winery was the “largest winery on the East Coast.”
His 200 planted acres certainly make the winery sizable and the largest one in Virginia by property size. But when discussing the size of a wine or spirits brand, the yardstick is typically case sales, not acreage. (Would you measure an automaker’s size by the square footage of its plant or how many cars it sells?)
One reason for this is the size of the vineyard may not matter given that many wineries buy grapes instead of growing them. “The largest vineyard in Virginia? Maybe. The largest producer? No,” says Jerald O’Kennard the director of the Beverage Testing Institute, which reviews wines and runs wine competitions. “It’s just semantics.”
According to the Virginia Wine Board, Trump Winery is in fact not even the state’s top producer by volume—it falls in the top five. The state’s largest producers are Williamsburg Winery and Chateau Morrisette, which readily admits to buying grapes from a network of Virginia growers.
Trump also failed to give an accurate history of the vineyard. During the press conference he said that media mogul John Kluge, “built one of the great vineyards of all time.”
As it turns out, it was really Kluge’s ex-wife, Patricia, who started the vineyard. You might excuse the mistake except that Patricia stayed on to make the wine after Trump bought the property.
It’s also hard to imagine why Trump would bring up his winery as an example of his business acumen given how well his eponymous vodka worked out.
In 2006, to great fanfare, he introduced Trump Vodka (what else would he call it?) in a statuesque bottle with a garish gold label designed by famed graphic designed Milton Glaser.
The launch party, according to New York Magazine, was emceed by rapper Busta Rhymes and, as you can imagine, featured a mix of hired models and “a bunch of middle-aged, slightly overweight white guys.”
Trump was characteristically optimistic about the brand, forecasting that his version of the classic vodka tonic, the Trump & tonic would be a huge hit. The closure of the brand in 2011 was quite a bit less glamorous, with the vodka quietly disappearing from store and bar shelves.