Did you know that some wineries have a few, shall we say, uninvited guests? These 5 haunted wineries are sure give you the creeps.
We love ghost stories, and one of our favorite things to do as Halloween approaches is to pour a glass of wine and tell tales of things that go bump in the night.
Oftentimes, the very places where wine is made are the settings of these stories. Many vineyards are, of course, out in the woods…where no one can hear you scream…
Before the spooky season is up, treat yourself to some bone-chilling tales from these 5 haunted wineries. Then, on All Hollow’s Eve, turn the lights down low, put a flashlight under your chin, and scare the pants off of your friends.
But First, a Ghostly Note
Below, you’ll find tales from haunted wineries – not to be confused with “ghost wineries.”
Ghost wineries refer to wineries that were built in the late 19th century and closed because of Prohibition, the dreaded phylloxera louse, or the Great Depression…or some combination of the three. These wineries are not necessarily home to any paranormal activity.
Feel free to use this tidbit to impress your friends with your in-depth knowledge of wine history. Now, onto the ghost stories.
#1 Mansfield Winery, Napa Valley
Before the Mansfield Winery was restored, it was known as the Franco-Swiss winery. Built in 1876, this winery made boatloads of wine each year and won national and international awards for the excellent wine made there.
Everything was going well until 1882, when an employee by the name of Louis Murback was fired for theft. Murback left town and went to San Francisco, but he carried with him a gnawing rage that grew and grew. Muback got drunk, bought a gun, and returned to the winery. There, he killed Jules Millet, the nephew of the winery’s owner. Jules continued to inhabit the winery as a ghost.
While the new owners weren’t necessarily believers in the supernatural, they couldn’t easily explain several odd and frightening events. For instance, when a group of skeptical visitors tried to disprove the existence of a ghost, their flashlights exploded. So, consider yourself warned.
#2 Miles Wine Cellars, Himrod, NY
Miles Wine Cellars is also home to a couple of permanent “guests.” When a young couple attempted to make improvements on the mansion on the property, both the man and woman died in the house before the renovation was complete. According to the current proprietors, the couple has never left.
Ghostly encounters with a man and woman have been reported since their death. Clearly, the couple was not ready to let go of their beloved property, as people have witnessed doors slam shut, blankets get thrown off of beds, and a foreboding layer of mist rise from the kitchen floor.
You can experience a supernatural encounter at Miles Wine Cellars without leaving your house. Get a bottle of their Chardonnay blend, lovingly titled Ghost, and shine a flashlight on the label to get a glimpse of the ghostly woman who roams the halls.
#3 Howell’s Mainstreet Winery, Howell, Michigan
Another historic winery built in the 19th century, Howell’s Mainstreet Winery is home to many unexplained occurrences. Visitors may see objects move on their own and hear noises coming from empty rooms.
The owners didn’t have to wonder what might account for these strange happenings. Before they bought the building, a local pulled them aside and said, “You know, a child haunts this place.”
However, the owners weren’t convinced of the presence of a ghost until strange things creaking footsteps, furniture moving – started happening. Sadly, the 7-year-old son of a store clerk who worked on the property died in the 1800s. His ghost remains there to this day.
Non-believers, beware: One vocally skeptical guest was in the tasting room, when their wine bottle mysteriously cracked, causing the wine to drain out and encircle their table. Coincidence? We think not.
#4 Valerie Hill Vineyard & Winery, Stephens City, Virginia
Deep in northern Virginia, Valerie Hill Vineyard & Winery is home to a large selection of wines and at least four spirits – the most common of which being the boy who lives in the attic.
In life, he was Benedict Rust, the son of the man who built the house on the estate. Rust was declared insane and spent most of his time sequestered in the attic. Visitors may also encounter a cantankerous old man, a soldier, or a woman in the basement screaming for help.
If you’re in the area, you can visit this historic winery for their History & Hauntings event, complete with food, wine – including their famed port – and some chilling tales.
#5 Murder Ridge, Mendocino, California
Finally, beware the ominously named Murder Ridge Winery. Located deep in the California wilderness, you may not be alone should you hazard a visit. Bears are known to do some light-night grape harvesting.
Murder Ridge, as you may have guessed, was also the site of a brutal murder in the early 20th century. In 1911, Joseph Cooper was slain. Police found their suspect – a man named Pete Gianoli – with Cooper’s jacket and his jug of wine. The motive remains unknown.
The spot of the murder is now a vineyard named for Gianoli. Today, Pinot Noir is grown there, which feels appropriate as it’s home to a noir-style detective story.
In Vino Finitio
Haunted wineries are located all across the country. If you’re feeling brave, now might be a good time to look up a winery near you. Just make sure you call ahead to make sure your local winery is open before heading on a spooky road trip.
For more wine wisdom, subscribe to our daily newsletter, Glass Half Full.