After years and millions devoted to her Charlottesville vineyard, Patricia Kluge is moving on.
For the past year, the former multi-millionaire has been working for Donald Trump, who bought the Kluge Estate Vineyard at a June 2011 foreclosure sale for $6.2 million. “I will be forever grateful to Donald for saving the winery,” Kluge told us Monday.
Now she’s leaving the day-to-day operations, but says a New York Post article suggesting sour grapes between her and Trump is wrong. “There is no rift,” the former model/socialite told us. “The deal was that it was a one-year contract with the notion of getting the winery back on track.”
While her 1,000-acre property was tied up in bankruptcy proceedings, the bank did the minimum to maintain it, said Kluge, whose vast-but-now-evaporated fortune came from her late ex-husband, TV mogul John Kluge. After Trump’s successful bid for the vineyard, his son Eric took over the business and Kluge stayed on to hire former employees and a full staff. (Her husband Bill Moses remains as general manager.) She will continue as a consultant to “make sure the vintage is the standard we want it to be.”
Kluge said she also used the past year to develop new projects. “They’re very creative,” she said, without revealing details about what, exactly, she’s up to. Virginia will continue to be her base, but her work will take her to New York, London and Hong Kong.
Read earlier: Va. winemaker’s painstakingly built empire crumbled in months amid recession, 2/23/11
Donald Trump buys Kluge winery, 4/7/11
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