If you happen to be visiting California Wine Country at the end of October, there’s more going on than the annual crush. These six Napa and Sonoma wineries are known for putting on spook-tacular Halloween celebrations, complete with elaborate costumes, pre-prohibition ghosts, creepy caves, and enough wine to ward off the heebie jeebies.
Saturday, October 20, 2018, 7 PM
Cost: $95, $75 wine club members, VIP $150
California’s first premium winery founded in 1857, Buena Vista Winery puts a modern twist on the classic masquerade ball. This not-so-spooky event is a tribute to a masked tradition that was supposedly started more than 150 years ago by the original founder, the Count of Buena Vista. The 1860’s, aristocratic-style evening takes place on the third floor of the winery’s Historic Champagne Cellar, featuring music, hors-d’oeuvres, and wine. This isn’t your typical Halloween costume party either – read: don’t show up as Wonder Woman or the Dragon Queen, Daenerys Targaryen – and instead requires vintage formal wear and a mask.
18000 Old Winery Rd, Sonoma, CA 95476, (800) 926-1266
Friday, October 26, 2018, 8 PM
Cost: $170, $140 wine club members
Napa Valley’s biggest Halloween costume party is back for its 10th year. Equal parts freaky and fun, it all goes down at California Wine Country’s notorious castle, Castello di Amorosa. The festivities will include a haunted, underground cave maze (because corn mazes are so last year), a DJ and dancing, fortune tellers, bottomless wine, tasty treats, cigar bar, photo booth, and games. For $25 extra, you get to arrive early for a wine tasting, tour of the haunted cellars and torture chamber, and fortune telling.
4045 St. Helena Hwy., Calistoga, CA 94515, (707) 967-6272
Saturday, October 27, 2018, 7 PM
Cost: $85, $75 wine club members
Does it get any creepier than partying in an underground wine cave? The sky-high caves at Rutherford Hill Winery, which boasts some of the best views in all of Napa Valley, will transform into the cobweb-covered Devil’s Den for a spooky night of Halloween antics. Don a costume, sip wine, and munch on Halloween-themed finger foods at this annual Halloween party.
200 Rutherford Hill Rd, Rutherford, CA 94573, (707) 963-1871
Saturday, October 27, 2018, 11 AM
Cost: $55, $40 wine club members
Constructed in 1886, it’s a safe bet that one of Napa’s oldest wineries, Trefethen Vineyards, has some spirits lurking around, making it the ideal setting for a bone-chilling, Halloween bash. It’s unlikely that you’ll run into them, however, for this is a daytime affair. Come in costume, enjoy wines and snacks, do The Monster Mash, and tour the old winery’s digs. After the original building nearly fell over in the 2014 Earthquake, the family has since resurrected it with a cool, new tasting room design on the inside.
1160 Oak Knoll Ave., Napa, CA, 94558, (866) 895-7696
Sunday, October 28, 2018, 10:30 AM
Cost: $200, $160 wine club members
No winery in Napa Valley gets in the Halloween spirit like Flora Springs. Each year, epic decorations lure tourists off of Hwy 29 – you can’t miss the trio of giant, dancing skeletons on the exterior of “The Room,” their St. Helena tasting room – and as a tribute to the winery’s history as one of the last remaining Napa Valley Ghost Wineries, Flora Springs releases a line of limited-production, Halloween-only wines. This year they’re upping the fear factor by taking those who dare on a paranormal tour of their historic, and haunted, estate (note: separate location from the tasting room). A Ghost Winery is defined as a winery built between 1860 and 1900, which then fell into disrepair in the early 1900s due to any number of reasons, like phylloxera disease, Prohibition, and the Great Depression. Flora Springs has partnered up with paranormal investigator Devin Sisk (of Napa City Ghosts & Legends) to lead a tour of the estate, 1885 Ghost Winery, and the spirits that inhabit it. The event includes a tasting of this year’s Halloween wines and a sit down lunch. Moreover, throughout the month of October, you can make an appointment ($40) to taste the Halloween wines, each with a unique and spooky label, in The Room. The cleverly-named Drink In Peace for instance, features an etched, glow-in-the-dark skeleton and comes in a coffin-shaped box.
Flora Springs Estate: 1978 West Zinfandel Ln, St Helena, CA 94574, (707) 963-5711
Flora Springs Tasting Room, “The Room”: 677 St Helena Hwy, St Helena, CA 94574, (707) 967-8032
Sunday, October 28, 2018, 11 AM – 2 PM
Cost: $12 per child, 14 and under
Bring the whole family to Francis Ford Coppola Winery’s 13th annual Halloween Carnival, for this fun, fall festival is the only winery event on this list that’s not just kid-friendly, but actually created for them. Break out their costumes a few days early; the day will include Halloween candy, carnival games, a DJ, and a Halloween-themed magic show. The pool cafe will be open serving food and drinks, for an extra cost. Proceeds from this event go to the Luther Burbank Music for Schools.
300 Via Archimedes, Geyserville, CA 95441, (707) 857-1471
Cover Image Courtesy of Joanna Salazar/Flora Springs