Halloween will be here before you know it. This I know because two full aisles of my local pharmacy are packed with candy and decorations.
With the “holiday” comes tales of the unexplainable, of ghosts inhabiting places far beyond those we expect to encounter them (such as cemeteries).
Yes, including wineries.
Ask any Napa Valley local and they’ll tell you. They either believe or have heard that the Rhine House on the Beringer Vineyards estate is haunted.
As the story goes, the winery’s late founder, Frederick Beringer, has been spotted in his old bedroom and walking around the upstairs halls.
The Rhine House was completed in 1884 and serves as the centerpiece of the Beringer property. It exhibits the detailed craftsmanship of the period with its interior wood paneling, stained-glass windows and exterior stonework. With its numerous gables, turrets and ornaments, it seems to scream, “Haunted!”
History often defines haunted, and Bartholomew Park Winery in Sonoma, Calif., at various times served as a hospital, a morgue and a women’s prison during the early 19th century.
Vines were planted on the property in 1830, but that apparently did nothing to scare away the ghosts.
Are those ghosts somehow responsible for the closing of Bartholomew Park Winery on October 28, just three days before Halloween? We’re told it’s actually about a long-term lease coming to an end, leaving the future of the site uncertain for the time being.
And then there’s the story of Zephaniah Farm Vineyard in Leesburg, Virginia. Even its name sounds haunted, and like Bartholomew Park Winery, it dates to 1830.
Northern Virginia Magazine tells the spooky tale:
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Canoodling couples should proceed with caution when wine tasting in Zephaniah Farm Vineyard’s manor house… That’s because Zephaniah Farm Vineyard’s chief ghost — Mattie Nixon — stirs when she feels an engaged couple is ill suited for one another.
“Mattie seems to come out when there are people who are about to get married because she didn’t have a great experience,” says owner Bill Hatch.
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Don’t let these creepy tales keep you from getting out and visiting a winery — even one that might be haunted. Stay away, and you could miss out on some scary-good wines.