Unless you’ve been living in a cave during the primary season, you probably know that Donald Trump sells high-end steaks, in addition directing to his real estate empire. But the would-be Republican presidential nominee has one other title that you might not be aware of: wine and spirits entrepreneur!
Like many other TV stars, Donald Trump tried his hand in the celebrity spirits world. Although The Donald’s vodka line is no longer available, back in the day, the $33 spirit was packaged in a golden skyscraper bottle created by famed graphic designer Milton Glaser. It even came in raspberry, grape, orange and citron flavors. But how did it taste? Christopher Null of Drinkhacker called it “a very clean and almost weak vodka … it’s hardly something to kick back and savor as you watch the sun set or the fireplace roar.” Ouch. With reviews like that, it’s easy to imagine how the brand folded in less than 2 years. (What can you really expect from a man who famously boasted he’s “never had a glass of alcohol” in his life.)
Mr. Trump is also connected to Virginia’s Trump Winery—formerly known as Kluge Vineyard and Estate—although reports differ as to how exactly he’s affiliated with the venture. Despite his declaration that “I own it 100 percent, no mortgage, no debt,” National Public Radio reports that Trump has little to do with the ownership or management of the winery. Indeed, the winery’s legal disclaimer says as much: “Trump Winery is a registered trade name of Eric Trump Wine Manufacturing LLC, which is not owned, managed or affiliated with Donald J. Trump, The Trump Organization or any of their affiliates.” Most sources say that Trump’s son Eric manages the business, having received it as a gift from his father. The Daily Beast poked holes in some of Trump’s other claims about “his” winery: Apparently, it’s not “the largest winery on the East Coast” nor is it next to the “Thomas Jefferson Memorial.”
With such outlandish (and easily disproven) claims, it’s hard to take Trump seriously. In fact, just last weekend, President Barack Obama poked fun at Trump’s boast. “Has anyone tasted [Trump] wine?” quipped the commander-in-chief. “How good could it be?” But it seems the Trumps are better at making wine than they are at vodka: The 2007 Trump SP Reserve earned a 91-point rating from Wine Enthusiast, the highest rating ever given by the publication to a Virginia wine.
Which makes it all the more perplexing, then, that Trump is not only a teetotaler but a strong critic of the alcohol industry. “I’ve never understood why people don’t go after the alcohol companies like they did the tobacco companies,” he told Esquire in 2015. “Alcohol is a much worse problem than cigarettes.” Perhaps if he fails to clinch the Republican nomination later this year, he stands a chance as the Prohibition Party‘s frontrunner.