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‘Wine cave’ owners defend Buttigieg after his fundraiser comes under fire

The owners of the “wine cave” that drew scrutiny from some 2020 Democratic candidates after South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg held a fundraiser there are speaking out in his defense.

Craig and Kathryn Hall, who own the Hall Rutherford winery in Napa Valley, told The Associated Press that some candidates misrepresented the wine cave while criticizing Buttigieg for his high-dollar fundraisers.

“It seems someone’s intentionally trying to create a different image than the reality,” Craig Hall told the news outlet. “And that’s unfortunate.”

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The wine cave went viral after Thursday’s Democratic debate in Los Angeles, during which Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) knocked Buttigieg for taking part in a lavish fundraiser that she said featured $900 bottles of wine and crystal chandeliers.

“We made the decision many years ago that rich people in smoke-filled rooms would not pick the next president of the United States,” Warren said. “Billionaires in wine caves should not pick the president of the United States.”

Buttigieg has steadily climbed in national polls in recent months and has had success fundraising in part because of some high-dollar fundraisers.

Hall took issue with Warren’s categorization of the event, saying his winery does not even sell individual bottles of wine priced at $900, according to the AP.

The couple noted that the most expensive single bottle goes for $350 and was not served at Buttigieg’s event.

Hall added that he didn’t know if any billionaires attended the fundraiser but noted that wine caves are common at wineries in the region.

“I don’t think anyone came with the expectation that they were going to become Pete’s good buddy for some personal purpose,” he told the news outlet.

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