Kluge Fired? Not quite says husband
Following the expiration of a one-year transition contract, the once vastly affluent socialite Patricia Kluge will no longer be employed full-time at the vineyard that once bore her name. She will however still have a hand in the winemaking.
A New York Post article published this morning under the headline “Trump: Kluge, You’re Fired,” made it seem like “the Donald” himself had axed Kluge. Kluge’s husband (and current GM at Trump Winery), Bill Moses, begs to differ.
“We both had one-year contracts,” said Moses. “The headlines are all punning on that show.” Trump’s reality TV show The Apprentice often features its host shouting the phrase “you’re fired!” at would-be Trump Tower acolytes.
“The contract expired, and she didn’t want to renew it,” Moses said. “She’s got a lot of other projects she’s working on.” Moses indicated that the break was amicable.
Trump’s son Eric is in charge of the Trump Winery business, which upped production from around 30,000 cases of wine per year under Kluge to 125,000 under the Trumps. Right before the transition began a last-ditch fire sale in the spring of 2011 saw the award-winning Kluge wine going for about six dollars a bottle.
Kluge Vineyard was purchased in June of last year by real estate magnate Donald Trump for $6.2 million as it mired in bankruptcy. The business associated with the vineyard was estimated to be worth $75 million in 2008, however in the economic downturn that followed the venture soon found itself in default as it failed to renegotiate two hefty loans from the Farm Credit Bank of Virginia.
“It was always known that Patricia was going to step down,” said the younger Trump. He added that Kluge will continue to serve as a consultant to the winemaking operation. Kluge's compensation for her one-year contract was $125,000.
Whereas most people might want to put such a financial black eye out of sight and mind, Kluge stayed on when the Trumps bought the foundering vineyard from the Farm Credit Bank. She works on the development and marketing of new wines.
Moses pointed to his wife’s knack for crafting successful wines as a reason why the Trumps are retaining Kluge’s services despite the end of the full-time contract.
“The Trump organization does not have a history in winemaking,” he said. “The wines are a product of Patricia meeting with winemakers. She does the blending; they are an expression of her taste.”