October 29, 2014
Severed hands? Paranormal events? Cellars inhabited by the devil?
We recently came across a list from GreatWineNews of 31 spooky Halloween wines. The list was full of wines with scary names and haunting labels, but what really got us into the Halloween spirit were the wines inspired by ghost stories and eerie legends.
During the 1600s, two families -- the O’Neills and O’Reillys -- decided to have a rowing competition to determine who would rule over a piece of land. They agreed that the first to touch the land would become the ruler. The O'Neill's boat began lagging behind and one of the crew members grabbed his sword and cut off his hand, throwing it ashore and winning the land, which is still in the family today.
The hand from this story is now depicted on the bottle label for Sinister Hand wine.
The story goes that vineyard owner, Catherine Vollweiler went to bed one night after searching through books for an art to use on her new wine. She gave up and fell asleep but was woken up some time later when she heard a loud noise. When she turned on the light she noticed one of the books had fallen on the floor and opened to the picture that wound up on the wine's label.
In the early 1800s, the Spanish Governor of California ordered Lieutenant Gabriel Moraga to explore the Great Central Valley and name all that he found. He came to a river where the banks were littered with skulls. He named the river “El Rio De Las Calaveras” or “The River of Skulls.”
In the 1800s, Don Melchor learned that his vineyard workers for sneaking into his cellars and stealing samples of his precious wine. The discourage them, he made up a story about the darkest cellar, calling it Casillero del Diablo (Cellar of the Devil). Nobody dared enter that cellar and a legend was born. Today, this cellar continues to hold the finest wines of Casillero del Diablo.
Oregon was in the middle of a gold rush in the 1860s. A miner traveling to Portland with his gold, camped for the night on top of what is now "Ghost Hill". While he was sleeping, someone killed the miner and stole his gold. Today, people believe the miner continues to wander the hill in search of his stolen gold.
Dead Arm (grape canker) is a vine disease caused by wood rot and impacts vineyards all over the world. Although dead arm is usually considered lethal to vines, some wineries have learned that the arms that are still alive can yield wine with incredible flavor and intensity. One such vineyard belongs to the Australian wine producer who make this shiraz.