There are many recommendations made on the Internet for scary wines, that is, wines for Halloween. While a scary label might dress up a table laden with witches, werewolves and cobwebs; what is inside the bottle might be even scarier. A better idea is to sample as many horror-themed wines as possible to find out if they are even palatable. Some wines can just naturally be horrifying.
Sometimes, a scary label even hides a good wine. One of the best wines of that breed is Vampire Vineyards. And therein lies a tale.
Vampire Vineyards was originated by Michael Machat. The inspiration, or nightmare, occurred to him in 1985 and he pitched the idea to the wine trade in New York, to disbelieving tradesmen. “Who would drink such a wine”, they asked? The answer now is tons of people, but then he had to go off on his own with his vision, or hallucination. Not everyone is sure which one.
He wanted to grow grapes and make wine in Transylvania, with or without the count’s blessing, but there was a big problem there. Nicolae Ceaușescu, the Romanian dictator would hardly welcome Michael’s idea any more than the wine trade, unless he named the wine Ceaușescu, of course. Instead he had to bide his time until the dictator was overthrown and the country had returned to some semblance of normalcy.
Meanwhile he made wines he sold to Alice Cooper and Ann Rice’s Fan Club. An easy sell, one might think. Later he did make wines in Romania and they appeared at local Whole Foods stores in Albuquerque. Just before Halloween, of course. The wines were not that expensive, a Halloween table display would have cost far more, and they were actually quite good for the price. The Merlot, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon red wines did quite well.
Eventually Michael decided he wanted to upgrade the quality of his wines and relocated to Paso Robles in California’s Central Coast. There were rumors of strange things happening in the Romanian winery such as workers wearing thick turtleneck sweaters, even in the summer. And too much noise from the children of the night.
What is known now is that he did up his game and produces a Vampire, Chateau du Vampire, Dracula and Trueblood series of wines. A detailed analysis all of these wines will be the subject of a future article, because these are not seasonal wines.
The troubling question is, if Bella Lugosi said, “I don’t drink . . . wine,” what does a vampire do through the centuries if they can’t even enjoy one of life’s great pleasures? A rare blood type they would drink, possibly fantasizing a Chateau Lafite Rothschild, but nothing from the vine. Obviously these wines were not made for vampires. Werewolves maybe, but not poor Dracula. For those that don’t spend half their life, er . . . death, in a coffin, these are wines well worth having on your table.