Track Storms in Virginia

Trump wines fly off Va. Wegmans shelves despite boycott call

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PHOTO: Sherri Moore

RICHMOND, Va. – A call by a women’s organization to boycott a popular Wegmans grocery chain for selling Trump wine seems to have resulted in its stores selling out of the wine.

The Washington Post reported the Prince William County National Organization for Women planned to protest Wegmans in Northern Virginia over its refusal to remove Trump wine from its shelves.

“Certainly if Wegmans is carrying Trump wines, I personally will not shop there,” Terry O’Neill, president of the National Organization for Women, told the Washington Post.

A Wegmans spokesperson said the upstate New York-based grocer, with one store in Midlothian and one in Short Pump, sells five varieties of Trump wine in its 10 Virginia stores. Wegmans, who sells 237 different wines from 58 state wineries, began carrying Kluge Winery products in 2008 and continued when Trump bought the winery in 2011.

Wegmans commented that their role as a retailer is to offer customers a choice.

“For various reasons, we are sometimes asked to stop selling a product,” said Jo Natale, vice president of media relations. “Our response is always the same, no matter the product:  How a product performs is our single measure for what stays on our shelves and what goes.”

“Individual shoppers who feel strongly about an issue can demonstrate their convictions by refusing to buy a product,” Natale continued. “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.”

While some stores like Nordstrom, TJ Maxx, and Sears have announced plans to eliminate or minimize the sale of products related to President Donald Trump, due to declining sales, the Virginia ABC has no such plans.

Virginia ABC sells six wines from Trump Winery in Charlottesville.

Sales of Trump wine more than doubled from 2015 to 2016, according to Virginia ABC spokesperson Valerie Hubbard.

“Trump wine is the number five wine brand sold in Virginia ABC stores [in terms of dollars],” she said.

Virginia ABC sold 7,837 bottles of Trump wine in 2016, compared to 3,318 bottles of Trump wine in 2015.

Only wines made at Barboursville, Horton, Prince Michel, and Williamsburg Winery earned more sales dollars in 2016, according to Virginia ABC. All those wineries sold many more bottles than Trump Winery at Virginia ABC stories. Barboursville, for example, sold more than 50,000 bottles of wine at Virginia ABC stores that year.

Trump’s winery and other businesses have been scrutinized over questions if the president has properly distanced himself from his business interests. That, combined with the political divide surrounding his election has prompted some people to protest stores that sell Trump brand products.

The Charlotteville Wegmans, as of 11:30 a.m. Friday, had 100 or so bottles left of the Meritage and around 20 bottles of the Cru, although that may change quickly.

“We will replenish our supply, but it may be three or four weeks before it is available again,” said Natale.

Other local grocers, like Kroger and Libbie Market, carry Trump wine.

 

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