It’s no wonder there are some haunted wineries out there. It’s an industry built around dark cellars and moonlit vineyard rows, often set in remote, sometimes mysterious locations.
We’ve all thought we heard something strange after a glass or two of wine, or mistaken a distant tree for a sinister silhouette. But what about wineries built atop the site of an old suicide? Or tasting rooms where a tray of glassware drops on a hard surface and not a vessel breaks? Some wineries chill the senses more than others. Here are five worth seeking out, especially if in addition to some sipping you might want a scare.
One of the scariest features of Argyle is that everybody working there seems to have a ghost story or two. The Willamette Valley producer specializes in sparkling in addition to Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Riesling. Apparently, a woman took her life at the old City Hall building back in 1908 where the current tasting room stands. Employees talk often about a resident ghost and of hearing strange noises or witnessing lights turn on and off of their own accord. Fittingly, the label makes a “spirithouse” line of wines.
Sonoma’s Buena Vista Winery is one of the Golden State’s first, beginning in 1857. The label throws ghost-themed parties in its cellar and occupies some very old stone structures that look as much the part of a winery as a place where terrifying things happen. The strangest legend involves the winery’s original founder, who was apparently eaten by an alligator while in Nicaragua. His body was never recovered so it’s pretty much assumed some element of it haunts the winery today.
Forest Grove, OR
Oregon’s Montinore is a model citizen when it comes to biodynamic growing practices and approachable wines. It’s also a bit creepy, with some creaky old structures that date back to the original inhabitants of the place, who moved to the Willamette Valley from Montana. Those who’ve spent a lot of time on the pastoral estate talk about glass falling without breaking and sounds they can’t quite put a finger on.
A wonderful outfit of Hill Country in Texas, William Chris is also decidedly spooky. It’s the little things that can make a place feel frightful. For example, the marbles people apparently find in random spots on the estate, with no clue as to how they got there. I suppose it all makes sense when your winery lies adjacent to a cemetery. The wine is excellent (the Rhone varietals, especially), by the way, but paranormal readings and its haunted history tend to tick a bit on this beautiful stop on Highway 290.
The bucolic town of Appleton resides in Western New York along the shores of Lake Ontario. It’s also home to Marjim Manor, a certifiably haunted winery set on a property that got its start in the 1830s. All you have to do is look at the vintage postcards from the place and realize it’s damn spooky. But there’s more. The owners fully embrace the paranormal, believing that the ghosts of the original inhabitants of the place frequent the winery often. Various paranormal experts have visited and documented things like strange voices and mist shaped like spirits. Go for the fruit wines, stay for the chills.
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