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<p class="wp-caption-text">Napa Valley's first winery, established in 1861</p></div>
If you're inclined to believe in ghosts, St. Helena’s Charles Krug/Peter Mondavi Family Winery has been a “hot spot” for paranormal activity for years. In fact, the winery’s founder, Charles Krug, claimed to have seen ghosts himself! (To put this in perspective, the winery was founded in 1861.) Current “sightings” have occurred most frequently in the winery’s Redwood Cellars built in 1872. The ever-growing body of sightings was enough to prompt Vice President of Marketing, Paul Englert, to conduct a paranormal investigation of the winery. Englert, who is “open to the possibility that [ghosts] exist,” says the winery’s ghost stories, true or not, are quite interesting either way. He even knows two employees who have reported seeing spooks on the premises.
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<p class="wp-caption-text">Photo of a séance conducted in 1872</p></div>
Intrigued, Englert invited the San Francisco Ghost Society, and Leanne Thomas, a medium, to examine the facility. Following an in-depth investigation by the San Francisco Ghost Society (which utilized an array of the latest paranormal detection technology), the Society turned up empty handed. However, the team expressed great interest in revisiting the winery after more work in Redwood Cellars is completed this spring; they claim major renovations can sometimes arouse the interest of resident entities. Leanne Thomas, on the other hand, claims to have seen the apparition of a woman wearing a blue dress. (Numerous sightings have been reported of a woman in white strolling through the upper floors of Redwood Cellar.) She also saw the spirits of a young boy and girl.
For curious tasters, Englert plans to host a “Wine and Spirits” (pun intended) dinner at the winery, which will also feature a seance! In the meantime, “There are several people who have seen activity and things here. We’ll try to corroborate those stories.” Given the winery’s lengthy history, there are artifacts around that go back over 100 years. “It’s really interesting,” said Englert, “You kind of don’t know what you’re going to find when you open a closet.” For the sake of the winery's employees, hopefully not a ghost who says, "Boo!"