But Trump said in a telephone interview that he has "absolutely no idea" what he would do with the properties should he acquire them. He already owns several luxury golf courses, including Trump National in Loudoun County, and Albemarle House once had a nine-hole golf course designed by Arnold Palmer on its grounds, which is now fallow.
"I like to buy things and figure it out later," Trump said. "At the moment I'm doing it out of respect for John [Kluge] and Pat. . . . It's a minor deal for me, not a big business interest."
These days Kluge and Moses have decamped behind the gates of the failed Vineyard Estates to a $3 million spec house that they built before the deal collapsed. It's 6,000 square feet; they've renamed it Glen Love Cottage.
Instead of tramping through the grape vines as they once did, they spend their days walking their dogs, Basil and Mr. Choo, on the subdivision's unfinished streets and huddling with lawyers, still trying to figure out a deal to find a partner for the vineyard, which will be sold at an absolute auction April 7.
"This is going to continue to be a shining light of the wine industry," Kluge says. "We're taking baby steps make sure that happens. We're not sure we'll succeed. We'll just see. "
'Sad to see'
On a day in December, a group of bidders from the local wine community gathered in a frigid warehouse in Madison, Va., where the bank was set to auction off some of the last Kluge wines. They were dwarfed by the immensity of the warehouse and shivered in the cold, recalled Robert Harllee, the owner of Market Street Wineshops in Charlottesville, who was there.
Harllee said it was "sad to see" the Kluge wines - which retailed for $15 to $30 a bottle - now being bid on at ridiculous prices, like $2 for an entire case.
A former associate of Kluge's who was also on hand said she was dismayed to see some of the bidders laughing, like it was all a big joke: "Look at what this has come down to." Had they forgotten all that Kluge had tried to do for the community over the years, the theater on Main Street she wrote a check to save, the after-school program for kids she'd bankrolled?
After a while the bank called a halt to the bidding because the prices had reached levels so low they were less than the state liquor tax.
"It's too bad," Harllee said. "Anytime somebody big and powerful falls, regular people view it as a cautionary tale."