The Ghost Wineries of Napa Valley

In the peaks and valleys of California’s wine country, vinters remember the region’s rich history and rebuild for the future

The Freemark Abbey is a fully functional ghost winery located in the Napa Valley just north of St. Helena. (Matt Kettmann)

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The winery, which eventually became a perlite factory, is now dilapidated and needing much renovation, but its spirit is palpable, symbolized in the painted, circa-1876 sundial that’s still visible on the exterior wall. And, according to the Mansfields, it also puts the ghost in ghost winery. One night after enough wine, Richard and some of his friends went down to the winery and called out the name of Jules Millet, a man who was murdered on the property by a disgruntled worker in 1882. Millet did not respond, but the next night when Leslie was home alone, the six flashlights that had been used in the winery all exploded, even bending a C battery in half. “I didn’t believe in ghosts before,” said Leslie, “but I do now.”


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