27th October 2022
Get ready to enter the realm of uncertainty, experience things from another plane, hear noises from an empty room, feel as though you’re not alone and enjoy a nice Glass of Bubbly.
The spirit universe continues to captivate the world, with ghost stories, sightings and unexplainable events, a wide variety of ghost hunting shows have been created to capture evidence of these beginnings from another realm, exploring buildings with a vast history or a terrible tragedy, but when you think about it, a lot of the wineries of the world have stood the test of time, so what spirits have unfinished business in the wine industry?
Let’s turn off the lights, sit with your back against a wall and prepare to explore the ghosts who still remain in wineries.
Château de Brissac – Loire Valley, France
This Château was built in the 11th century in France, it resides in the heart of the Lorie Valley, gaining the record as the tallest Château in France, containing 7 floors.
Despite its physical beauty, this Château holds an air of mystery, this is the story of Charlotte de Brézé, the favourite illegitimate daughter of King Charles VII, she married a nobleman by the name of Jacques de Brézé on the order of others, Charlotte hated her new life, which took her to the countryside, living at Château de Brissac.
Growing ever more bored and restless in her hollow life, she started a passionate affair with a local huntsman, but they weren’t careful enough. Shortly after being discovered in bed together by her husband, he immediately flew into a blinding rage, killing them both on the spot, legend says he killed them both with his hunting axe, striking them each 100 times.
This event is known as the La Dame Verte legend, taking place in the 15th century at Château de Brissac
The story doesn’t end there though, it’s said that soon after the murders, Jacques de Brézé fled the Château after being tormented by the moaning and walling ghost of his murdered wife, who has been seen dressed in a green dress, which is why she is referred to as The Green Lady.
Trefethen Family Vineyards & Winery – Napa Valley, California
Although on this list for being haunted, its ghost story is combined with another fascinating piece of history.
The Trefethen winery was founded in 1886 by two brothers, James and George Goodman, back then it was known as Eschol, which meant ‘Valley of the Grape’ in Hebrew.
In the 1920s and 1930s it was used as a location for bootleg operations during America’s Prohibition, on one gloomy night, a young man broke into the winery in an attempt to steal some alcohol, he failed in his mission and got caught by the bootleggers and as you would expect, they weren’t too happy, so they lynched the guy, placing a rope around his next and stringing him up from one of the interior ceiling beams high up in the winery.
When people visit the winery, some have seen a human-like shadow swinging overhead, or even felt or seen the event unfold in their eyes.
Mansfield Winery – Napa Valley, California
When this winery was originally built in 1876, it was known as the Franco-Swiss winery, the business saw a successful start, but in 1882, an employee called Louis Murback stole from the company and he was fired for his betrayal.
Although in the wrong, Murback became furious about being fired and on one fateful day in San Francisco, he drank a little too much, purchased a gun and made his way back to the winery, where he then shot and killed Jules Millet, the nephew of the winery’s owner.
The winery would get restored and renamed Mansfield Winery by its new owners, who aren’t strong believers in the supernatural. However, on one occasion, a group of skeptical visitors explored the winery, trying to disprove the existence of Jules Millet’s ghost, during that time, a flashlight exploded.
Perhaps the flashlight was rigged to blow, or something from another plane used a strong force to confirm their presence, perhaps you’ll have to visit to determine for yourself.
Beringer Winery – Napa Valley, California
This winery is very known among the locals as a haunted winery, located in California, the property was designed like the magnificent Châteaus in France,
The most haunted room is Frederick Beringer’s bedroom, where objects have unexplainably flown across the room. The employees actually keep a log of the paranormal situations that they experience and it’s rather long.
Murder Ridge Winery – California
Could you drink a bottle of wine made with Pinot Noir grapes grown on the land of which a murder was committed? In 1911 Joseph Cooper was brutally murdered and set aflame, police hunted down the killer and when they found him, he was inside his cabin, wearing the jacket of the man he killed and drinking a jug of wine, his name was Pete Gianoli and the vineyard on which Joseph Cooper was murdered, is now named after his killer, Gianoli.
The winery embraces its dark history, with ominous pictures of its vineyards and even releases its wines with creepy labels of crows on a barren tree.
Buena Vista Winery – California
Located in Sonoma, California, the Buena Vista Winery has a macabre history, the winery was created by a European immigrant called Agoston Haraszthy who decided to call himself ‘Count of Buena Vista’, when his life was cut short in 1869, he was engorged by crocodiles in Nicaragua.
Since his untimely death, it makes sense that his spirit became anchored to Ohis winery, paranormal activity has been reported ever since, with menacing noises and unearthly apparitions, seen by both visitors and ghost hunters, if you can bear to face the fear of the darkness, then this winery hosts a Halloween ball each year to further share their story of its ghostly presence.
Bartholomew Park Winery – California
This Winery has a very long and darker history than most, before it became a winery it was a hospital, before that it was a morgue and its original creation was a women’s prison. It was only converted into a winery in the 1830s, the wine cellar is located in the same area where some female prisoners would have served their sentences, but despite its very long and ever-changing history, it wasn’t until the 1970s when the ghost stories would begin, during an earthquake the body of a former prisoner was revealed within one of the old walls.
Since their resting place was disturbed, people have reported eerier footsteps in entry rooms and the sounds of someone playing a piano.
You can also hear some faint female voices and singing coming from the cellar, normally in the afternoon, continuing into the night.
Dry Creek Vineyards – California
This winery is built on the land that once belonged to the Native Americans, a Pomo Indian reservation, many arrowheads and artifacts have been discovered on the land.
It is the tasting room manager who brings us the scariest story of the winery, she was working late when the phone rang, she was too busy to answer, after, upon checking the number, she saw that it came from her own direct office line, a telephone that she had been sitting right next to when her phone was ringing.
It is not the only weird phone story at the winery and with an apparition of a Native American man, plus the lights gaining a mind of their own, flashing on and off, this winery could have disturbed some vengeful spirits.
Except, that could all be fake, I got in touch with Dry Creek Vineyards to get a comment. Sara Rathbun, their Marketing and Communication Director kindly replied, but with great concern, upon showing here the words above, this was her reply:
“That is what I was afraid of! We have no knowledge that the land the winery was built on once belonged to Native Americans, or who the tasting room manager is or who it refers to. It’s a story that has been republished on its own through the years, but I just can’t corroborate that any of it is accurate.” – Sara Rathbun
I responded by offering her a chance to set the record straight, to tell the truth about whether Dry Creek Vineyards was really haunted or not, sadly, I did not receive a reply.
So Whether Dry Creek Vineyards is truly haunted by someone is yet to be confirmed, but what we do know is that the story about the Pomo Indian Reservation and the ghost phone call, are (from the winery’s words) untrue.
Haunted Biltmore Estate Winery & Grounds – North Carolina
Imagine owning the largest privately owned estate in the United States of America, the building was constructed in 1886, on the orders of George Washington Vanderbilt, although the president might have first popped into your mind, this George Washington was an art collector, he was part of the prominent Vanderbilt family, who had amassed an incredible fortune through railroads, steamboats and good business deals.
The estate is comprised of 125,000 acres of land, with many people able to travel out to explore, becoming one of the most visited places in North Carolina.
For the haunted part, the most haunted room in the house is said to be the Biltmore Library, haunted by none other than George Washington Vanderbilt himself, during his living years, he would spend a lot of time in his library, reading books from favourite authors and some very rare copies.
He often made his way to the library during a storm and today, the library is still frequented by him, with visitors saying they’ve seen shadow figures move, often when the skies are grey and the distant sound of thunder looms.
Other unexplainable events include someone swimming in the pool and George’s wife, Edith whispering George’s name, requesting he retire to the library.
Miles Wine Cellars – New York
This winery has claimed a couple of lives, so whether their spirits still remain or not, may be left up to you to decide. A young couple was attempting to renovate the mansion on their property but sadly perished before the renovations were complete.
The man fell through the attic rafters, down three stories where he snapped his neck and died, with his wife passing away shortly after somewhere within the hallways of the house
People have reported paranormal activity from both a man and woman at the winery, with doors slamming closed, an unexplained layer of mist rising from the kitchen floor and blankets being thrown off of beds.
The Miles family moved into the house during the 1980’s, where they have experienced encounters that have been more of an inconvenience than frightening.
The first encounter came in a way of a slamming door, Miles was in the officer and Hayes was in the nearby kitchen, walking into the living room, she heard the office door slam shut, walking up the staircase to the second floor, she was greeted by Miles who had also heard the door slam shut, Miles asked Hayes what had angered her so much that she slammed the door before she could answer him, he heard a footstep in the kitchen, hurrying down, he indirectly saw a mist rising from the kitchen floor, stopping at a height nearly identical to his, then the mist flew through the living room and out of the house, slamming several other doors along the way. This happened about 10 years ago.
Slightly shaken by this experience he went back upstairs to Hayes where they spent the rest of the night together, unsure what to make of the accounter.
Miles’s father was often awoken by someone pressing on his back in the night, with his comforter being flung across the room several times, they say it’s often seen crumpled at the base of the bedroom door.
Although living with more people than anticipated, on the advice of the clairvoyants, Miles decided not to perform a séance or try and rid the ghosts from their house, instead after 17 years of work restoring the property, he a lot of effort into cleaning and also maintaining the family cemetery, jokingly saying “If the ghost isn’t happy, nobody’s happy,”
Upon investigating the haunting of their property, they found out about the young couple who may have died at the house. They haven’t been able to identify it as anything more than a legend, but, they spoke with an elderly woman who had lived at the house before them, she told them of her childhood experiences at the house. She never minded being punished when her parents sent her to her room because she always had the company of a nice man and woman who would come out of the walls and visit.’
Whether it’s true or not, this winery has fully capitalized on the story of Ghosts by reuniting the two lovers by producing a bottle of Wine called ‘Ghost’, where if you shine a flashlight on the bottle in the dark, you’ll expose a ghost hiding in the label.
Marjim Manor Winery – New York
This Manor has stood in the state of New York since 1854, it was built by Shubal Merritt, but sadly, during the construction of the Manor, his wife, Sophia, passed away.
Shubal and Lewis (his son), took part in a local hunt and upon returning home Shubal ‘is said’ to have adjourned to a room to clean his gun, closing two French doors behind him, his Son, Lewis went upstairs and then later hurried into Shubal’s room, swinging open the French doors in such hast that it caused Shubal to discharge his gun which killed Lewis at exactly 3:00 PM on Thursday 1865.
It doesn’t take an expert to know that when cleaning a gun, you remove any bullets, so why Shubal’s gun was loaded when he ‘accidentally’ killed his son, could have just been poor timing, or something more sinister.
They are just a couple of examples of those who have passed away on the property, the biggest lure to this Manor is the strange activities that happen around 3:00 PM, particularly on Thursdays.
I reached out to Margo Sue Bittner, who is the President at The Winery at Marjim Manor, I asked her if she could share a comment about the haunting and if the story of Shubal and Lewis was true or just a legend, this was her response.
“The shooting death is a legend. We have had paranormal activity at 3 PM, including doors opening and closing. There are dozens of stories about paranormal activity.” – Margo Sue Bittner
Howell’s Mainstreet Winery – Michigan
Built-in the 19th century, Howell’s Mainstreet Winery may host a supernatural guest, sadly, slightly too young for an alcoholic drink.
Just before the owners bought the property, a local resident pulled them to the side and gave them a piece of information that might have saved them from an encounter from a darker place, the local said “You know, a child haunts this place.”.
The new owners were unconvinced or didn’t much care about the man’s warning, but during their time there, they have experienced many events which cannot be easily explained, like footsteps in an empty house and moving furniture, even visitors hearing noises from empty rooms and objects moving on their own accord.
They say on one account that a bottle of their wine cracked and the wine drained out, encircling their table, it’s not like a bottle of wine has never cracked before, its more common with Sparkling Wine, but even still, this seems like an event you would have needed to experience to believe it as anything more than coincidence.
To who this young ghost may be, it’s believed that he is a 7-year-old boy that died in the 1800s, the son of a local store clerk.
Valerie Hill Vineyard & Winery – Virginia
Could you spend time at a home where a boy lives in the attic? Valerie Hill Vineyard & Winery in Virginia is said to host a young boy by the name of Benedict Rust, the son of the man who build the house, the son was apparently, for some bizarre reason, declared insane and was forced into the attic where he spent almost the rest of his life.
It’s not just the attic that’s supposedly haunted, when venturing down into their basement, you might not be alone, people have reported hearing a woman, a soldier and an old man screaming for help, to why they are or were screaming for help, we don’t know.
Belvoir Haunted Winery – Missouri
With 240 acres, this winery was built around 1900, three of the original building still stand on the land, with a cemetery on the property, where a possible 600 bodies were laid to rest.
While roaming the estate, you can hear voices, doors slamming shut and swinging open, little orphan apparitions and adults can be seen more often than one would like, and even the pleasant sound of a piano can be heard, but when you see no one playing the keys, you know you’re not alone.
Champagne and Sparkling Wine Writer, Focused on Bringing the Exciting and Fascinating World of Bubbly to You.