Moguls Go Head-to-Head in Virginia Wine Country

Plus, Motörhead joins the ranks of rock-act vintners
Oct 6, 2011

• Virginia's wine industry got an infusion of star power Tuesday when Donald Trump came down to Albemarle County to formally open Trump Winery. "We are building and will continue to build something that will continue to put Virginia on the map in terms of wines and Champagnes and everything," The Donald told a crowd of wine fans, local business leaders and politicians, including Governor Bob McDonnell. "This will be one of the great wineries anywhere in the world—not in this country but anywhere in the world." Part of his enthusiasm may stem from the bargain price he got. Trump paid about $8 million in several auctions in April for the 770-acre property, near Charlottesville, and its equipment and inventory. Former owners Patricia Kluge and her husband, William Moses, owed their bank $35 million. Trump has put his 27-year-old son Eric in charge but retained Kluge and Moses to manage the property. No word on how he'll produce "Champagnes" when he's an ocean away from France, but never underestimate Trump's marketing savvy. And since he reportedly doesn't drink, Unfiltered might cut him some slack.

• Just a little further north on Route 29, Trump may be getting new neighbors. Several sources report that AOL co-founder and long-time Virginia resident Steve Case (a wine collector who has previously invested in the industry) and his wife, Jean, are seeking state approval to purchase Sweely Estate Winery, located in Madison County. Owned by Jess Sweely, the property has shown promise, but the recession has been tough—the owners averted two foreclosure auctions in recent years. Jean Case has been a vocal champion of Virginia wines for some time, so hopefully, if the state approves a license transfer, the couple can invest more to boost quality at the winery, which makes whites and Bordeaux-variety red blends. Unfiltered plans to sign up for the wine club; we're looking forward to the offer that starts “Hello, You’ve Got…wait, what grape rhymes with ‘mail’?”

• "Killed by Death." "Ace of Spades." Bottle of Shiraz? Legendary English metal band Motörhead has produced some enduring singles over the years—the band has sold an estimated 15 million albums in the United States over a 40-year career. Now, they're hoping to add some cases of wine to that tally. Following in the footsteps of fellow arena rock acts such as Pink Floyd, the Rolling Stones and AC/DC, the band has released a Shiraz, which they recommend pairing with lamb chops. Currently, the wine, made by Australia's Broken Back Winery, is only available in Germany and the United Kingdom, but interested parties can purchase official Motörhead Shiraz t-shirts, glasses and carafes from an online store. No word on whether the band plans to expand its line of offerings, but we suggest more umlaut-friendly wines such as Grüner Veltliner, Blaufränkisch or Spätburgunder.

Musicians / Singers United States Virginia Unfiltered

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