The World's Most Haunted Wineries

Wine has been a staple drink throughout history, and the wine-making business continues to flourish. Whether you love a good tasting experience with a riveting backstory or you simply came for the wine, vineyards often intrigue us all with their rich and fascinating past. While on-site, taking in the aromas, searching for soft tannins, and appreciating the variety of vintages, one cannot help but wonder about the land, the old cellars, and all the people who had a hand in turning grapes into wine.

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With countless wineries dating back centuries, some even millenniums, there is bound to be an urban legend or two tied to any given wine brand — but some vineyards have vino-loving spirits that decided to hang around for a while to boot. From wine vaults of old in Scotland to stately homes and castles with vineyards across the globe, you might just be surprised at how many vineries have a sordid past that spawned a few ghost tales. So, if paranormal activity and vino tastings are two of your favorite pastimes, then here are the world's most haunted wineries.

Château de Brissac: Loire Valley, France

Considered one of the most haunted places in all of Europe, Château de Brissac is surrounded by lush vineyards and the stunning French countryside. With roots dating back to the 11th century, this stately home and its fruitful vineyards are magnificent sights to behold. However, breathtaking views, rich history, and robust cabernets and rosé wines are not all you will find when touring this Loire Valley winery: This place is said to have a resident ghost named Charlotte. Also referred to as the Green Lady, Charlotte is rumored to be the spirit of Charlotte de Brézé — one of King Charles VII's illegitimate children.

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In 1462, Charlotte got married to a nobleman but was ultimately unhappy in her loveless marriage. Thus, she had an affair, one that would end up costing her her life. Charlotte was reportedly murdered in the 15th century by her jealous husband and doomed to forever roam the castle and its surrounding garden and vineyards. As an apparition, the Green Lady haunted her former husband until he fled the castle. Today, many castle and winery guests claimed to have seen a ghostly figure in and about Château de Brissac, wearing an elegant green dress, making the most of her afterlife, which includes disembodied footsteps, spine-tingling moans, and phantom laughter. Said to be one of the most famous ghosts in France, the green lady, though terrifying to see, has made this property seemingly her forever home.

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Murder Ridge Winery: Mendocino, California

Murder Ridge Winery wasn't always this vinery's name. Long before the gruesome murder that inspired the name change, this Mendocino grape farm was known as Perli Vineyards. Back in the early 1900s, this winery was just fertile land with a cabin or two nearby. But in 1911, Joseph Cooper was brutally murdered here, and his remains were set ablaze. Peter Gianoli, a nearby cabin owner, had Cooper's coat on at the time of his arrest and was said to be casually sipping on a jug of wine as the police showed up. Gianoli was eventually charged with killing Cooper and ultimately sent to a state asylum.

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After being released, Gianoli pretty much disappeared, but his presence can still be felt at Murder Ridge even now. And though there is no talk of ghosts per se here, crows (a murder of crows) have lingered about this winery ever since. These ever-present harbingers of death, combined with an overall eerie vibe and a barren area of land where a man was once dismembered and then burned, have all the makings of a good ghost story in our book. Buttery chardonnay, pinot, syrah, and zinfandel are some of the most famous wines at this California vineyard — and the bottle labels ensure no one forgets this hauntingly gruesome tale.

Beringer Winery: Napa Valley, California

Also in California, the Beringer Winery in Napa Valley is known to be quite haunted. In fact, more than a few locals know all too well just how haunted this estate is. And it is even rumored that several previous employees have up and quit due to the absorbent amount of paranormal activity in the main house and on the grounds. Long ago, in 1884, the central abode on this grape farm, also called the Rhine House, was the personal residence of one founder in particular — Fredrick Beringer.

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In 1901, Mr. Beringer died, but apparently, he did not get the memo. Though this historic property is now a nice stop along the Napa Valley Wine Train route and used exclusively for wine tastings and other events, that has not stopped the ghost of Mr. Beringer. Ever since his death, an apparition matching his description has been rummaging about his 17-room estate and abundant vineyards. Though most of his antics happen upstairs in what once was his bedroom in Rhine House, the ghost of Mr. Beringer continues to move things around to his liking. Besides the founder of Beringer wines, killing some time here in the afterlife, other ghostly figures, though unknown, have also been seen near Rhine House, at the other Victorian estates on the property, and strolling through the vines.

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Ricasoli Winery & Brolio Castle: Tuscany, Italy

Established in 1141, Barone Ricasoli Wines is one of the world's oldest wineries. It continues to operate to this day and is still owned by the very same family that started it all. For hundreds of years, this winery went about business as usual in the Chianti region, located in the heart of Tuscany — that is, until 1880. The Iron Baron is yet another castle- and winery-roaming ghost that decided he was going to stick around for a while

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Baron Bettino Ricasoli, the inventor of the Chianti Classico wine varietal, was known for his cruelty in life and thus was given the nickname Iron Baron. Upon suffering a heart attack in the family-owned castle in 1880, Iron Baron did not go "quietly into the night" — as there were accounts of strange happenings even during his funeral, plus the continued resurfacing of his buried coffin. Rumored to lament about the castle and its grounds even now, the ghost of Iron Baron is by no means a friendly ghost, but he did create a nice dry red that will forever live in the hearts of wine enthusiasts everywhere.

Biltmore House & Winery: Asheville, North Carolina

Located in Asheville, North Carolina, the Biltmore House and Winery is a feast for the eyes and palate. Built in 1895, this stately home with its manicured grounds and elaborate vineyards belongs to the Vanderbilts — yes, those Vanderbilts. That said, haunting this lavish estate are none other than the original owners themselves, George and Edith Vanderbilt. A ghostly couple still enjoying the finer things in life, visitors have claimed to hear Edith calling out to George, often near the in-house library that George so dearly loved.

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George and Edith have also been known to laugh and splash about in their indoor pool, even in death. And despite the estate, property, and winery totaling a whopping 8,000-plus acres, these posh apparitions still seemingly make the rounds. For the non-dead, however, a shuttle bus will whisk you across the ample acreage to the winery. Known for its world-class wines, including chardonnay, cabernet franc, merlot, and cabernet sauvignon, Biltmore Winery came well after George and Edith's time. In fact, it was their grandson William Amherst Vanderbilt Cecil who started growing grapes in 1971 — but George and Edith do seem to be pleased with all that their grandson and other family members have accomplished. They seem to be amused by the general public touring the grounds and prefer haunting at their leisure.

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Groot Constantia: Cape Town, South Africa

The oldest winery in South Africa, Groot Constantia, has more than a few ghost stories under its belt. With roots dating back to 1685, Simon Van der Stel, an early Cape settler, happened upon fertile soil near the notoriously haunted Table Mountain, and his love for winemaking was born. Van der Stel reportedly planted countless vines and oak trees and was very attached to the property as a whole. By the early 1700s, Groot Constantia was home to over 60,000 vines and yielded nearly 17,000 liters of wine.

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These days, Van der Stel and his wife are credited with creating South Africa's very first wine farm. Still in operation some 300 years later, Groot Constantia is as much a historical site as it is a first-rate winery. Van der Stel died, however, in 1712, and his beloved winery continued to change hands throughout the centuries. Yet, despite his death and the changes in ownership, Van der Stel's ghost is rumored to roam the grounds — inspecting the vines, lounging about the manor house's pool, and even occasionally going for a swim.

Belhurst Castle & Winery: Seneca Lake, New York

A lovely upstate manor and vineyard, Belhurst definitely has a few ghosts enjoying a good vintage. Situated in Seneca Lake, in the Finger Lakes region, this hotbed of paranormal activity was initially used for residential purposes in the early 1800s. The first death on the property and most likely one of the local spirits here was Bucke Hall, who took up residence in the Hermitage house, which was the only home on the land at the time. Later found to be an embezzler on the run, Hall injured himself in 1836 and forewent treatment, leading to his own demise and his haunting of the Hermitage house.

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Still, this lucrative land plot kept on changing hands until the late 1800s, when a wealthy woman purchased the property and began construction on what would eventually become Belhurst Castle. Construction workers falling to their death or going insane were par for the course during the build, and soon after, the castle changed ownership once more. With various owners over the years, this lavish residence became a speakeasy, then a casino, then a boardinghouse, and finally, three hotels with a restaurant and winery. And with each transformation, more spirits arrived, including Isabella, an opera singer who died in the secret tunnels at Belhurst, and a former caretaker named Dick O'Brien. From disembodied operatic solos and ghostly tricks to other unexplainable happenings, the staff, as well as the castle and winery guests, have undoubtedly seen some chilling things.

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Belvoir Winery & Inn: Liberty, Missouri

A midwestern gem, Belvoir Winery, has absolutely broken some cardinal horror genre rules. By setting up shop on former burial grounds and choosing not to avoid spots where secret rituals once took place, this vineyard is asking for paranormal trouble. Located in the small town of Liberty, the Belvoir Winery happens to sit on a 200-plus acre lot that belonged to a fraternal social club called the Order of Odd Fellows. Know for their well, odd practices, and secret ceremonies, the buildings once used by the Order have some actual skeletons in the closet and the walls. What's more, this very same land formerly housed an orphanage as well as a semi-crowded cemetery with a sprinkling of unmarked graves.

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Thus, it is not too surprising that winery guests and people who work at this Missouri vinery and hotel have reported regular ghostly activity. But if you don't mind adding a few phantom guests to your wedding seating chart or you aren't bothered by the extra unseen company as you taste chardonnay varietals, then this haunted winery is for you.

Seppeltsfield Winery & Estate: Barossa Valley, South Australia

Vineries in Australia are aplenty, but Seppeltsfield Winery & Estates in Barossa Valley just so happens to be seriously haunted. With roots dating back to the mid-1800s, this family-owned and operated winery is actually considered one of the most haunted places in South Australia. People who frequent this vinery have reported hearing disembodied footsteps, ghastly moans, faint whispering, and blood-curdling screams near the vines. Phantom gunfire and even blood seeping through the walls on occasion has also been a problem at this renowned grape farm.

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Moreover, paranormal activity here seems to be extra prevalent during anniversaries of the Seppelt family members' deaths at the winery. In particular, lights flicker without any electricity, and the unknown and unseen regularly terrorize the staff. But even so, many believe that these hauntings are just the previous generations of Seppelts causing all the commotion. But despite the ongoing spookiness, people still flock to Seppeltsfield in droves for their award-winning cuisine and those famed sparkling, white, and rosé wines.

South Bridge Vaults: Edinburgh, Scotland

The infamous South Bridge Vaults haven't seen a barrel of the good stuff in quite some time, but these vaults from long ago are most certainly haunted. Before delving into that, it is worth noting that whisky (not whiskey) was not hailed as the national drink of choice in Scotland until well into the 18th century. Long before whisky, the Scots loved their wine — their French imported wine, to be exact. Since everyone loved a good red, they needed a place to store all the wine — enter the 18th-century South Bridge Vaults. Though using this underground space as a massive wine cellar was short-lived, the South Bridge Vaults were eventually used for other purposes.

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In the mid-19th century, these underground chambers became housing for immigrants and others in desperate need of a place to stay. Unfortunately, due to rampant crime, illegal whisky-making, and disease at this time, this was a recipe for disaster. After the housing project failed, the vaults got a second lease on life and became the city's red-light district. There was even a period when the medical school stored dead bodies here. As a result of all this, the South Bridge Vaults are rumored to have a considerable ghost problem. Declared a historical landmark quite some time ago, the South Bridge Vaults are now open to the public for ghost and history tours, so you can stop by and see for yourself what kinds of ghostly spirits decided to stick around.

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Château du Taillan: Haut Médoc, France

Last but not least, Château du Taillan is said to be haunted by La Dame Blanche or The White Lady. This particular ghost story dates back to the 7th century, and if you know your French wines, then you know La Dame Blanche has a refreshing white named after her. Legend says that La Dame Blanche is the ghost of a Moorish princess named Blanca, who fell in love with the wrong man in her father's eyes, so he imprisoned her in a fort, which was also later named after her — Blanquefort.

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Sadly, with her one true love out of the picture, Blanca died alone in captivity. Shortly after her death, a spirit, seemingly in search of something lost, began wandering the woods and the vines that would later become Château du Taillan, and she has done so ever since. 

Ultimately, Château du Taillan and the other estates mentioned above are just a few haunted wineries out there in the world. But if you are a connoisseur of wines and love an intriguing tale filled with murder, mystery, and ghosts, then why not combine your passions and check out some of these delicious haunts yourself?

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