White House gate crashers Tareq and Michaele Salahi, once drunk on the fame of crashing President Obama's first state dinner in November 2009, are hosting a very sober bankruptcy auction Saturday, a major move to bring normalcy back to their lives.
At noon at their Oasis Vineyards winery in Hume, Virginia just east of the Shenandoah Valley, auctioneers will kick off a day-long sale of wine-making equipment, some 8,000 bottles of vino, trucks, and even corks. A viewing is being held Friday. [Check out photos of Obama behind the scenes.]
The bankruptcy auction ends a long battle over ownership of the vineyard that got tangled in their fame, capped recently when the blonde Michaele appeared on Bravo's Real Housewives of D.C. But Tareq has said it might mark the beginning of a new stage of their lives that could actually begin by making wine again at the vineyard, which is not up for auction.
The equipment to be sold off by N.T. Arrington Auctions is mostly wine, wine-making equipment and catering goods. The Salahis have suggested that it is in bad condition, but most of it looks fine in the auction house's photos.
Wine makers and booze sellers are expected to flock to the sale. To buy wine, a special ABC license will be required. The auctioneer has also issued a demand that nobody can make bid over $3,000 without first charging their credit card.
As proof the couple plans to make a comeback, the Oasis website reveals that they are planning to renovate the facility and renting it out for weddings. "Now taking wedding reservations for 2012 Season," says the site.
They are also using the website to shoot down rumors that the whole winery has gone belly up and is being auctioned off. [See cartoons about the Democrats.]
At one point, the winery was popular and highly ranked, offering sparkling wine for up to $300 a bottle. According to the winery:
"Oasis Winery is a premium boutique winery, rated top 10 in the world, and can be found in select premium locations, such as Relais & Chateuax properties, 5 star hotels, as well as your local wine merchant—and in most instances exclusively available at the winery. The Oasis setting is majestic and breathtaking—the visitors center and vineyards overlook the US National Park/Skyline Drive. Oasis is one of the oldest vineyards in the state, offering visitors both a romantic and comfortable retreat, in addition to facilities to host meetings, lunches, dinners, and special events. The view from the winery is like a mural painted by Mother Nature; its vista sets row after row of vineyards atop gently rolling hills, with a beautiful water fountain centering out of the lake. The entire scene is framed by the majestic mountains towering behind, offering the cool gentle breezes required in Oasis' award-winning viticultural practices."