No regrets: Patricia Kluge wakes up and smells the grapes

Patricia Kluge is weary from being up most of the night. No, not from some big party. She didn't sleep well because she knew she had to get up at 2:30am to harvest her merlot grapes under lights that make the vineyard look like a movie set. By 7am, at the doublewide trailer that serves as the office for Kluge Estate Winery and Vineyards, everybody's yawning.

This isn't exactly what one expects from the woman who was once married to a successful British nudie publisher and later to the richest man in the world. This is a woman who joined UVA's Board of Visitors, befriended a governor, founded a film festival, and has bought and sold businesses. She's a farmer? Couldn't she just sleep in and hire someone to handle the grape picking?

It turn out that Kluge is no dilettante winemaker. She's entirely hands-on, and she has a vision for a "dazzling" operation that will make Kluge Estate Winery and Vineyards a destination even for teetotalers.

From 50 acres of grapes planted in 1999, 298 limited edition bottles are now for sale. Each bottle nestles in an American walnut box with ebony lipping and sells for $495, so don't look for them in Kroger. But with enough serious wine collectors like Kluge out there– her own cellar boasts 4,000 bottles– they'll probably be snapped up in no time. The rest of us will have to wait for the tasting room to open.

Age: 53

What brought you here? Motherhood and the countryside

What's worst about living here? Having to use tiny planes

Favorite hangout: Albemarle House

What's overrated? Being a career woman

What would people be surprised to know about you? My desire to excel. My passion, focus, and determination. I never give up.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? Nothing

What accomplishment are you proudest of? Motherhood first, then the rest of my human accomplishment measured as a whole.

What do people find most annoying about you? You can't get me down. If something is wrong, I see it as an opportunity, not a hindrance.

Whom do you admire? God

Favorite book? The Age of Spiritual Machines by Ray Kurzweil

What subject causes you to rant? Republicans

What thrills you most about the 21st century? I'm here, and I'm making waves.

What creeps you out about life in the 21st century? How sophisticated we are and yet still so very barbaric

What do you drive? Range Rover

What is in your car CD player right now? Queen of Spades, Great Scenes, by Tchaikovsky and 35th Anniversary Jam of the James Cotton Blues Band

What's your next journey? Bora Bora

What's the most trouble you have ever gotten in? I haven't.

What do you regret? Nothing

Favorite comfort food: Chocolate

What's in your refrigerator? Water, champagne, yogurt, Bass Ale, fresh lemonade, and homegrown stuff from the garden and orchard

Must-see TV: The Simpsons and CSI

Favorite Cartoon: Looney Tunes

 Describe a perfect day: Everything going my way

Walter Mitty fantasy: Traveling in space

Who'd play you in the movie? Catherine Zeta-Jones

Most embarrassing moment: Something happened as I curtsied the Queen of England. I was at the Royal Windsor horse show, and the Queen drove by in her Range Rover. Protocol is that you curtsey as she goes by, and I did, but I was curtseying uphill and my knee got stuck in the mud. People laughed.

Best advice you ever got: From my grandfather, "Get on with it."

Favorite bumper sticker: Virginia is for lovers!

 

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