Real Housewives of DC‘s Michaele and Tareq Salahi may be in a heap of trouble over crashing the White House, but their biggest headache is probably the family business: Oasis Winery.
Last episode of RHCD (aired Aug. 26, 2010) we were treated to an embarrassing display of stomping store bought grapes (which, to make matters worse, don’t yield any juice when you stomp them, wine-making grapes have a thick skin that explodes when you stomp and yield a lot of liquid), and also a mini drama involving sending away the press, a massive security team, and Tareq’s mother Corrine.
The Salahi’s guests (which included cast members Stacie Turner, Mary Amons, and Cat Ommanney) were purplexed about the security situation, and could see Corrine looking at them from a balcony, but Tareq and Michaele pretended nothing ununusal was going on and preceded to have them squash table-grade grapes without cracking a smile. They were using those grapes because the vineyard and winery had been left dormant for several years over a family legal battle, but they failed to explain this to their guests. It was very strange and needless display of denial and posturing. Are Michaele and Tareq really that out of touch with reality? (Short answer: definitely.)
The truth is that Tareq’s parents founded Oasis winery in 1975 Fauquier County and over the years gained a good degree of success in the Virginia wine market. Tareq’s father (Isreali immigrant Dirgham) taught him the art of wine-making, and according to Tareq, promised to sell him Oasis one day for $1.
Several years ago Tareq’s father became very ill and could no longer run the winery, so Tareq wanted to take control. The problem is that both his father and his mother Corrine wanted to sell the winery because Tareq had helped run the company into severe debt. His business practices were literally running the hard-earned company into the ground buying unnecessary items like an Ashton Martin boat.
The respected winery was put on the market in 2007, and Shaquille O’Neal expressed interest in purchasing it for $4 million, but Tareq foiled those plans by taking down the website and indicating that the winery had closed down.
After that things turned uglier when Tareq’s parents named him in a civil lawsuit, and tried to evict him and Michaele from an apartment on the Oasis property.
In late 2007 Tareq almost convinced his friend Casey Margenau to buy the property and then lease it back to him, but Margenau quickly backed out when he realized the state of the vines and financials.
Margenau told the Washington Post:
“When I looked at the disarray of the property and vines, and looked at the financials, I said, ‘Tareq, you can’t make this work. You couldn’t pay the rent. You’d be defaulting to me, and we wouldn’t be friends.”
Oasis Winery filed for bankruptcy February 2009, and it’s still unclear if the winery is back in operation. What is currently is full swing is Tareq’s feud with his parents, mostly his mother (his octogenarian father is currently receiving hospice care.) In a 2009 interview Tareq revealed that his mother locked Micheale in a room for three hours. His mother has also reported several thousand dollars worth of wine stolen from the winery over the past year, with no sign of a break-in, which would suggest the thief might have access to the winery.