The Ghosts of Napa Valley

24th October 2022

The Ghosts of Napa Valley

Welcome to The Ghosts of Napa Valley, when you look at the wine world, a lot of winery hauntings are documented in America, with California appearing more often than most, so I thought I’d tell a few Ghost Stories from one of the most popular Wine regions, not just in America, but the whole world, Napa Valley.

So let’s take this unique opportunity to find out who these ghosts are, how they died and how they make themselves known to us.

Trefethen Family Vineyards & Winery – Napa Valley

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

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 faithful 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 owner, who aren’t strong believers in the supernatural, but on one occasion a group of skeptical visitors explored the winery, trying to disprove the existence of Jules Millet’s ghost, however, 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

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.

Bonus Ghost Stories

Let’s brand out a touch, to share a few more stories of supernatural, exploring just a little more of California.

Dry Creek Vineyards – Healdsburg

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.

Murder Ridge Winery – Mendocino Ridge

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.

Bartholomew Park Winery – Sonoma

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.

Buena Vista Winery – Sonoma

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.


Image Credit

Oliver Walkey

Champagne and Sparkling Wine Writer, Focused on Bringing the Exciting and Fascinating World of Bubbly to You.