The regional supermarket chain with a cult following is facing calls to remove Trump Winery products from its 10 Virginia stores. Over the weekend, about 300 members of the Prince William County chapter of the National Organization for Women made plans to pressure Wegmans to stop carrying products from the Charlottesville winery.
“Certainly if Wegmans is carrying Trump wines, I personally will not shop there,” said Terry O’Neill, president of the National Organization for Women, who was not present at the meeting. The nonprofit, which was founded 50 years ago, has more than 500,000 contributing members, making it the country’s largest feminist organization.
The Rochester, N.Y.-based Wegmans sells 237 Virginia wines from 58 wineries at its local stores. Among those wines are five varieties from the Trump Winery, including Trump Blanc de Blanc and Trump Winery Chardonnay. According to Jo Natale, vice president of media relations for Wegmans, the company has been selling wines from the Charlottesville winery since 2008, before it was owned by Donald Trump — and long before he campaigned for the White House.
“Our role as a retailer is to offer choice to our customers,” she said, adding that the company ultimately decides whether to stock a product based solely on how well it sells.
“Individual shoppers who feel strongly about an issue can demonstrate their convictions by refusing to buy a product,” Natale said. “When enough people do the same, and sales of a product drop precipitously, we stop selling that product in favor of one that’s in greater demand.”
Reston resident Claire, who spoke on condition that she be identified by her middle name for fear of reprisal at work, says she plans to curtail her weekly shopping trip to the Wegmans in Sterling. As a native of Upstate New York, she and her family of four have long been loyal to Wegmans, she said.
“I shop pretty exclusively at Wegmans but seeing Trump wines on the shelf, that’s really bothersome to me,” she said, adding that she’s also avoiding DSW and Lord & Taylor because they carry Ivanka Trump’s line. “I guess I’ll have to go to Shoppers now.”
Trump bought the property, formerly Kluge Estate Winery and Vineyard, for $6.2 million in a 2011 foreclosure auction.
“I’m really interested in good real estate, not so much in wine,” Trump said at the time. “This place had a $28 million mortgage on it, and I bought it for $6.2 million. It’s a Trump deal!”
Despite promises to distance himself from his businesses, documents show President Trump continues to benefit from his hotels, golf courses and other ventures. His son Eric now runs Trump Winery. The company’s wines are sold at a number of stores including Giant, Harris Teeter, Safeway, Kroger and Whole Foods, according to its website. Trump Winery did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Nordstrom two weeks ago announced it was dropping Ivanka Trump’s line of shoes and clothing amid a 32 percent decline in sales. Sears, Kmart and Neiman Marcus soon followed suit. Now some shoppers are hoping Wegmans will be next to ditch the Trump brand.
As one, John Brown III, put it on Facebook: “Wegmans is a nice grocery store; but there are alternatives.”