The Wine Blog

Ghosts, Ghouls and Goblets

October 15, 2013


Ghosts, Ghouls and Goblets!
by: Allegra Porter
With All Hallow’s Eve around the bend, we felt inspired to investigate spooky wine stories… and what we found was CHILLING! Check out these haunting Tales From the Vineyard. Mwhahahaha!  
Franco Swiss Winery: “Pop” Go The Flashlights
After buying a “ghost winery” that had been abandoned during prohibition, the Mansfields discovered that they got more than they bargained for in the deal. Free ghosts! Legend has it that Jules Millet, one of the original proprietors, was murdered outside the winery’s walls in 1882, and still haunts the place. Soon after the Mansfields purchased the winery, Richard took some friends from a dinner party to the winery for a late night tour. A tipsy guest yelled out, “If you’re here, Jules Millet, knock three times!” Nothing happened that night, but the next night six loud explosions erupted in their home, terrifying Richard’s wife Leslie. The next morning, she discovered that every flashlight that the men had used to tour the winery had exploded into a million pieces. A C battery was also bent in half. The ones that had not been taken across the street were just fine.
Bartholomew Park Winery: Naughty Madeline
Many have died in this 84-year-old building in Sonoma. A state farm for Delinquent Women/hospital annex turned winery, there have been dozens of reports of strange happenings in the cellar that used to be a prison. Staff members report hearing singing, usually hymns, late at night when no one else is around. The ghost of a woman whom the proprietors have fondly named “Madeline” can also be seen lingering before vanishing beneath the cellars.
Stag’s Leap Winery: Leaping Out of the Road
Built in 1888, this winery has had many past lives — country residence, fashionable resort, retreat for Navy personnel during World War II, a rooming house, a deserted derelict, a residence again, and now a winery. With this much history, it’s not much of a surprise that this vineyard boasts its own paranormal visitor. The winemaker recounts his run-in with the apparition of a woman in white. On his first night in the manor, he was rudely awoken by a noise late at night. He got out of bed to investigate, walking into the hallway towards the front of the house, when he saw a young woman standing near the landing, facing him. Startled, he spoke to her. When it dawned on him that she was an apparition, she spoke to him. To this day, the winemaker will not utter what she asked him to do.
Beringer Vineyards: He’s Baaaaack!
The director of public relations at Beringer’s Rhine House has a collection of reports on spectral run-ins in the manor: multiple reports of movement in the Rhine House, footsteps on the stairs, lights going on and off at weird times, and so on. One report tells of the room in which the original proprietor, Frederick Beringer, died. One night while closing up downstairs, two managers were preparing to leave when they heard a loud noise coming from upstairs. There was no one else in the building. They ran up to investigate and were stunned to find that one of the silver trays in the Reserve Tasting Room had flown halfway across the room and landed in the middle of the floor. As if things couldn’t get any spookier, more than one janitor has seen a man coming through the wall upstairs. Beringer, is that you?
Dry Creek Vineyards: Alone in the Cellar After Dark
Dry Creek’s hospitality director tells of her own peculiar experience in the old winery. Working late one night, she was closing the winery alone. After closing the two sets of heavy wooden double doors in the cellar, securing each one with a solid wooden plank, she walked away to secure everything in the tasting room next door. Minutes later, when she went back to the cellar to turn out the lights, she found all the double doors wide open and the heavy planks on the floor. When she recounted what had transpired the next day, no one seemed surprised. A staff member told her that anyone who works there alone in the winery after dark will witness the ghost eventually. 
Charles Krug: Phychic Medium
Even founder Charles Krug reported seeing ghosts in the historic Redwood Cellars of his winery. The time for wondering is over, though, because an investigation into this issue is now being conducted by the San Francisco Ghost Society, a volunteer paranormal-investigating organization, and by the psychic medium Leanne Thomas. So far the two investigating parties are stalemated on the whether or not there’s evidence of paranormal activity, but Thomas gives a detailed description of a slender woman with light brown hair in a floor-length, 1800s-era blue party dress with a bow in the back in the winery’s Carriage House. Frankly, we wouldn’t be surprised if ghosts existed here because of the five flights of stairs in the manor, growing ever narrower and leading upward to the cupola atop the winery. Wouldn’t it be a great place for them to hide?