Following the 19th Century discovery that Napa Valley and other parts of California could become one of the most prolific and diverse wine grape growing areas in the world, vineyards and wineries literally sprouted across the landscape. By 1919 when Prohibition and the 18th Amendment were enacted to ban the production, sale, and transport of all alcoholic beverages, California numbered over 700 wineries actively engaged in wine production.
Although some small quantities of wine may have been produced for private use during the “dry” period of 1919 until 1933, perhaps, many of those early wineries were closed, repurposed, or even abandoned.
Following the happy (for some) repeal of Prohibition on December 5, 1933, the wheels of widespread wine production sprung back into motion. Wineries, breweries, and distilleries re-opened their doors.
In California, some owners could unlock the doors, revive their vineyards, and retool their wineries. Other facilities had been abandoned and even taken on another purpose during the long dry spell.
Many of those buildings and vineyards that were revived post-Prohibition are still in operation today.
Although not haunted (as far as we know!), we at Platypus Wine Tours refer to these facilities as “Ghost Wineries,” inspiring delightful Wine Country Tour and Napa winetasting experiences, stopovers, and fascinating commentary.
Platypus Wine Tour’s Top Six Ghost Wineries
1. Jackse Winery/Napa Valley Vintners
Jackse Winery is located next to the rail line and was built in 1905. The original structure was simple and farmhouse style. Although Mr. Jackse was arrested for selling wine from his farm during Prohibition, his winery is now the home of the Napa Valley Vintners (NVV). This membership-based organization is a non-profit trade organization that promotes, protects, and enhances the Napa Valley wine industry and wine country tours.
Check them out here: https://napavintners.com/
2. Far Niente
During the Gold Rush of California, John Benson hired an architect to create a stone winery on the hillside of Oakville. This winery closed in 1919 and re-opened in 1979, fully restored by the Nickel Family. Today Far Niente is considered one of the oldest wineries in California and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Check them out here: https://farniente.com/
3. Bergfeld Winery/Hall Wines
In 1873, an English Sea captain William Peterson purchased forty-nine acres and planted a vineyard in the heart of the Napa Valley. Later, in 1885, he constructed a gravity-fed 5000 square foot building with stone on the first floor and wood on the second floor. After phylloxera infested the vineyard, Robert Bergfeld restored the property until Prohibition. Following the repeal of Prohibition (1933), the property was re-opened as the Napa Valley Winery Cooperative. In 2003, Craig and Kathryn Hall purchased the property and preserved the Bergfeld legacy. The building is called the Peterson-Bergfeld building today and is used as an event and tasting space.
Check them out here: https://www.hallwines.com/
4. Charles Brockhoff Winery/Flora Springs
Constructed in 1885, the Charles Brockhoff Winery was active for over twenty years until Prohibition derailed its progress. This winery remained abandoned until the 1930s, when Louis M. Martini purchased the property. Martini lived on the property until he died in 1974, using the old winery as a storage facility. Jerry and Flora Komes purchased this property in 1977, moved in, and renovated the old stone building.
Check them out here: https://www.florasprings.com/our-legacy/ghost-winery/
5. Pagani Winery/ Kenwood Vineyards
In the 1880s, Angela and Felice Pagani traveled from Italy to Sonoma Valley and settled down to produce wine, using horses to work the land. Kenwood Vineyards subsequently established a winery in 1970 on the site of the Pagani Vineyards. They converted the site from jug wine to a modern winemaking facility.
Check them out here: https://www.sonomacounty.com/wineries/kenwood-vineyards
6. Christian Brothers Winery/Culinary Institute of America
In the 1900’s Greystone was a cooperative wine cellar. In 1945, it was most notably the Christian Brothers Winery. They were permitted to produce wine for sacramental purposes. Christian Brother Timothy was a pioneer in the wine industry. He was instrumental in advancing the wine industry. Today Greystone houses the prestigious Culinary Institute of America.
Check them out here: https://www.ciachef.edu/cia-california/
Wine Country Tours with Platypus
Platypus Wine Tours offers private and join-in wine country tours, Napa wine tasting in Napa Valley, and tours throughout Sonoma County. Check out the Platypus Wine Tours website to learn how to reserve your spot on future wine country tours and a Napa winetasting.