“I know a lot about Charlottesville,” he said. “It’s a great place that has been badly hurt over the last couple days. I own one of the largest wineries in the United States. It is in Charlottesville.”
Trump Winery, which is run by the president’s son Eric, has received backlash following some of Trump’s controversial political stances and actions. In February, there was a movement backed by a local chapter of the National Organisation for Women to boycott Wegmans for selling Trump wine at Virginia locations.
According to a legal disclaimer on its 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 Organisation or any of their affiliates.”
While on a recent trip to Charlottesville, we decided to pay Trump Winery a visit.
Considering our lacklustre experience at Trump Grill, our expectations weren’t too high when we visited. But, we went in with an open mind. Here’s what we found.
The Trump Winery -- originally the Kluge Winery, which was bought by Trump in 2011 -- is located in the rolling green hills outside of Charlottesville, Virginia, minutes from another more historical presidential estate, Thomas Jefferson's Monticello.
The tasting room sits off a winding country road in the midst of the winery's many rolling acres. Like many of the area's plentiful vineyards, it's a popular tourist destination and hosts many weddings.
As we walked in, we noticed a familiar plaque from the American Academy of Hospitality Science. The award plaques also adorn the walls of other Trump properties -- the head of the organisation, Joseph Cinque, is a longtime Trump acquaintance. Sometimes described as a 'small-time mobster,' Cinque has previously been convicted of possessing stolen property.
The interior is spacious, bright, and rich with dark woods. A chandelier overhangs the tasting counter.
The wine tasting experience offers four wines for $A15, with an option to pony up more for more varieties. The first wine we tasted was the blanc de blanc. It's a very pleasant, light, dry white with mineral notes and a sparkling effervescence.
Next up was the chardonnay. It's an enjoyable wine, fruitier and heavier than the blanc de blanc with an oaky, buttery finish, but it was nothing outstanding.
The rosé, however, stands out from the pack. This is a dry rosé that has no airs; it's something that you can bring to the table and please most, if not all, tastes. It avoids the sickly sweet stereotype while still bringing a fruity, summery drinkability that fans of the trendy pink drink crave.
Trump Winery's cabernet sauvignon is a welcome surprise: a red that's suitable for the summer while still holding its own against more full-bodied reds. It's not as heavy as one might expect, which gives it a versatility that can last all year long.
For around $3.80 extra, we decided to split a taste of the port-style Cru fortified chardonnay. At 18% ABV, it's a different beast. The bouquet is heavy and sweet, laden with pineapple and caramel -- but upon first sip, it wasn't the sugar bomb we feared. It's sweet, for sure, but it's balanced by a subtle smokiness that answers to the burnt caramel aroma.
Videos promoting the winery -- especially as a wedding venue -- played on loop above the counter. Eric Trump, who runs the winery, was prominently featured. However, Eric excluded, talk of politics was avoided.
Trump acquired the estate in 2011. By buying the land surrounding the estate's mansion and discouraging access to it, he was able to drive the asking price down from $A126 million to $A4.54 million.
While Trump has claimed that the property is 'the largest winery on the East coast,' it is not so. Still, at 1,300 acres (200 acres of vines), its size is nothing to scoff at.
In the hazy distance stands the Grand Hall, the wedding venue attached to the vineyard, and the Albemarle Estate, an extravagant Georgian mansion that is part of the Trump Hotels portfolio.
NOW WATCH: Executive Life videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.