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Are Donald Trump’s wine any good? What the critics say



Cut to the chase: Donald Trump’s TRUMP Winery in Virginia makes decent sparkling wine (not a very difficult thing to do, as the grapes don’t have to get ripe), but his still wines are anywhere from okay to mediocre.

President Obama put Trump’s wines in the spotlight the other day when he ribbed the orange-haired man for “slap[ping] a label” on “some $5 wine” and then “they charge you $50 and say it’s the greatest wine ever.”

Well, Trump wouldn’t be the first winery owner to overprice his product, so Obama is a little harsh, although you can’t blame him for wanting to ding Trump, who, as the nation’s leading birther, still hasn’t admitted he lied about Obama’s birthplace.

But lest politics intrude into the enological purity of, let’s get onto the subject of Drumpf’s Trump’s wines. Disclosure: I never tasted them. But Wine Spectator, Wine Enthusiast and Wine Advocate have. So what’s their verdict?

First, Obama gave Trump wines about a zillion dollars worth of free publicity, although I doubt if that was his intention. Publications across the U.S. have been looking at his wines. For example, the Yakima (Washington State) Herald reprinted a Washington Post article, headlined “Are TRUMP wines actually fantastic, magnificent vintages?” (By the way, the all-capitals TRUMP is because that’s the way The Donald prints it on the label, with the immodesty we have come to expect from this self-absorbed narcissist. And if you look closely, you’ll notice the font is the same as that used on U.S. money.) So are the wines “fantastic”?

No. Of the three publications I checked, Spectator’s been brutal. Of five scores, the highest is 84 points (for the ’07 Brut Reserve). The lowest is a horrendous 81 (’08 Blanc de Blanc), which retailed (at the time of the review) for $24. Would you pay $24 for an 81-point wine? If you would, I have a candidate for you to vote for—and, quel surprise, his name is Trump!

The birther-in-chief fares a little better over at Wine Advocate. They liked his ’09 Blanc de Noir (91 points), but the ’13 Meritage got a measly 85.

Then there’s Wine Enthusiast, who gave Trump’s son, Eric, who runs the winery, their 2013 Rising Star award (and before you ask, I had nothing to do with that!) A sweet 91 points to the ’07 Brut Reserve, and 89 to the ’09 Blanc de Blanc. But 82 points (ouch) to the ’11 Rosé. Inbetween those extremes was a bunch of mid-80s.

So if you buy a Trump wine, don’t expect anything special.

  1. Bill Stephenson says:

    Politics aside, I feel Trump is fair game and I appreciate this post.
    Like a Kardashian or any other media-whore, I’m sure The Donald feels that any attention is good attention and until you posted today, I had no idea he had branded a wine.

    Thanks to you and Obama, I am now enlightened.

    A quick look through Cellartracker shows his wines – on average – score better than the mass-produced Menage-a-Trois lineup and far better than the ubiquitous Barefoot. Many scoff at CT as a bunch of amateurs but I don’t find WS or WE to be objective given the amount of full-page glossy ads for dull wines.

    Sure, Trump’s wines cost more but if you place one on the table at a gathering a bottle of TRUMP Winery New World Reserve is going to garner more attention and spark more conversation than a BV Napa.
    And isn’t that the point?

    I wont be purchasing any. I have never thought much of “celebrity wines” in the first place.

  2. doug wilder says:

    Steve, I believe that most of the vintages mentioned were produced under the Kluge era.

  3. Doug, they all show up under the TRUMP label on the websites of the three magazines.

  4. Bob Henry says:

    The Wall Street Journal recently reviewed Trump-branded consumer products on their “Opinion” page:

    “Donald Trump, Meet Your Customers;
    Trump say he’s the tribune of the common man. I read 26,000 online reviews to find out what the common man thinks of his products.”

    By Joseph Rago
    [member of The Journal’s editorial board]

    Excerpt on Trump wine(s):

    Mr. Trump says he’s the candidate of the common man, and, well, the common man now regularly shares online his opinions of the stuff he buys. By coincidence, a few weeks before Mr. Trump’s [election-night] speech, I wondered what the amateur critics who contribute to websites like TripAdvisor, Yelp and Amazon were saying about his consumer-facing products, and I started to comb through their reviews whenever I had a spare half-hour.

    According to my spreadsheet, I’ve now read about 26,000 individual reviews. It has been slow, bleary-eyed scutwork, trust me, and remember, kids, this is what happens if you go into journalism.

    . . . I went with a friend to get lunch at the notorious tourist trap that is the Trump Grill, in the gilded atrium of Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue. My review: This place couldn’t make a Gentleman’s C at Trump University.

    A lobster ravioli appetizer ($14) appeared to be frozen food, which offered reassurance: “unlikely to be poisonous.” Meat was riskier. To the cows that gave their lives in vain for the Gold Label cheeseburger ($20) and the Trump Tower steak sandwich ($23), we apologize.

    Our glasses of “red wine blend” from Trump Winery — a Meritage, the 2013 vintage ($11), and a 2012 New World Reserve ($16) — also disappointed. The esophageal burns [*] speak for themselves.

    . . .

    [*From its presumably high ABV level? ~~ Bob]

  5. I would probably give Trump wines a taste. However, there aren’t going to be very many repeat customers if they aren’t any good. At least not from people who are serious about wine.

  6. You do realize Donald Trump does not own Trump Winery, right?

  7. Trump’s son doesn’t just “run” the winery. Donald Trump literally has no affiliation with the winery. Please delete this joke of an article.

  8. Mike Smith, what DOES Trump have real affiliations with, of all the things that bear his name? Regardless of the precise connection, it’s his name–his image–that attaches to the winery.

  9. Mike Smith, I hope you realize his son, Eric, technically owns it. All in the family…

  10. I do realize that ERIC Trump, not DONALD Trump, owns Trump Winery. That is why I corrected you. I am glad that you realize that now, too. According to your article, you did not realize this before, as you stated it was Donald’s winery. Please make the necessary corrections to your article.

  11. John B. Egan says:

    The fact that Donald doesn’t own the winery has nothing to do with the quality of the wines, which the article is very clear on…’Not very good.’ But it’s clear that Eric, like Ivanka is trying to generate sales by associating with the family TRUMP brand. Intersetingly, that brand is not considered worth much anyway. Donald’s hotels and casinos get nothing but C ratings, and all are losing business..Not to mention his Scottish golf courses, which have lost millions since opening. A cheap kitschy family, peddling junk to tasteless followers. Nothing more.

  12. I thought Donald Trump was a tea-tolaler. I have a sneaking suspicion that he didn’t buy a 750 acre vineyard, he bought a prospective golf course.

  13. Stephen, I think you’re right: trump doesn’t drink alcohol. As for the winery, he did buy it as a winery, not a golf course. His marketing method was to use his fame to get magazines to write about it, which they were eager to do. It worked. The wines were already well-known before he was elected. They’re not very good.

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