Shenandoah National Park vendor sold Trump wines
Back in July, members of the Center for Biological Diversity told Bill Snape, senior counsel for the organization, that they had seen wines from Trump Winery being sold at the Skyland Resort in Shenandoah National Park. In September, Snape visited the resort to see if the wine was there–and sure enough, it was.
Snape sees the presence of wines owned by the president’s son at a national park as an ethical and legal conflict. Representatives for the National Park Service and for Trump Winery dismissed his concerns.
“There should be no merchandise from the sitting president’s family fortune that is on sale at a national park,” Snape said. “That represents a fundamental conflict of interest.”
Jeremy Barnum, a National Park spokesperson, stated in an email that the wine was not sold by the National Park Service or any other governmental agency. Instead, Delaware North Corp., a food and hotel management company that has lodging and restaurants in several national parks, sold the wine.
Barnum added that the National Park Service does not tell concessionaires the specific products that parks can sell.
“The National Park Service (NPS) authorizes concessionaires to sell categories of retail goods and products like T-shirts, baseball hats, and in this case wine,” Barnum stated. “However, the NPS does not specify what brands of these products should be sold.”
But Snape said that the National Park Service can bar the sale of items it deems to be inappropriate.
“And it seems to me…that it’s highly inappropriate for the park service to be carrying the wine of President Trump, the wine of President Obama, the wine of any president,” Snape said. “There should be no merchandise from the sitting president’s family fortune that is on sale at a national park.”
Delaware North entered into a 10-year contract with the National Park Service in 2013 as an authorized concessionaire for Shenandoah National Park. According to that contract, the manager of Shenandoah National Park has some control over what merchandise Delaware North sells at the park.
“The Superintendent may review and approve all merchandise sold in the Area,” the contract reads. “The Superintendent may exercise his or her discretion to determine that certain items may be inappropriate and unacceptable for sale.”
Snape added that, while there is some separation between the sale of the wine and the national park, the separation is not significant enough to eliminate conflicts of interest.
“It is not as though–and I never alleged this–it’s not as though the Trump vineyards pulled its trucks out from next to the parks shop and just unloaded Trump wine,” Snape said. “That is true. But it is true that Trump wine made it into the concessionaire’s warehouse, and that concessionaire decided that it wanted to sell Trump wine.”
In an email, Kerry Woolard, general manager for Trump Winery, stated that “our wines have been in various stores throughout the region for many years.”
“Also, all of our wine sold to retailers or restaurants in all states are sold through a distributor so there is another layer of separation,” Woolard stated. “I can only assume, like all business people, products they carry are evaluated on what actually sells and therefore produces revenue for the store.”
Barnum stated that Delaware North has sold wine from the distributor of Trump Winery in previous years. On Twitter, Eric Trump wrote in a response to a CNN story on the subject that Delaware North started selling Trump wines long before Donald Trump was president.
“They have been carrying our wine for many, many years,” Eric Trump wrote.
Representatives from the Delaware North Corp. have not responded to multiple requests for comment.