Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Haunted Wineries of the Midwest

It’s October, when thoughts turn to harvest, Halloween, and hauntings – the perfect time to explore a haunted winery or two.  This month, Joy’s JOY of Wine will take a look at haunted wineries across the U.S. and the world. So pour a glass of something dark and brooding as we explore some ‘spirited’ wineries, and those who make them so…

Dozier Vineyard and Winery began when a hobby went awry.  Bruce and Nina Dozier purchased 48 acres of ground in Ellinwood, Kansas in 1998 to start a vineyard and winery on.

The Dozier’s decided that the abandoned Santa Fe railroad depot structure, located on the property, would be the perfect place for their main winery building.  Renovations began, and the spirits were moved.  

Locals claim that they have seen the ghost of a young woman dressed in a white wedding dress waiting outside the depot (now the winery,) with a minister.  Others claim that she paces the dirt road in front of the winery.

Legend has it that the young bride-to-be was waiting for her fiancee so they could be married before he went to war.  But the train did not stop that day and her intended was taken off to battle where he was killed.

Unfortunately, Dozier Vineyard and Winery is now closed. But that means little to the bride-to-be who still waits for her love to disembark at the lonely train depot....

The most well known haunted winery in the Midwest is located in the “Show Me” state.  And, it appears that they have a lot of spirits to show….

Belvoir Winery, in Liberty, Missouri, is located on the grounds of the former I.O.O.F. – Independent Order of Odd Fellows District Home.  Belvoir is French for “beautiful view,” and that’s what the owners, Dr John and Marsha Bean, thought when they saw the I.O.O.F. property in the 1990’s.  They knew this was the place for their winery and vineyard.  But once they began work on the buildings, they realized they had more than rooms with a view…

The I.O.O.F. is one of the largest fraternal and benevolent organizations in the U.S.  The Missouri Odd Fellows built the complex around 1900 as a place to care for the elderly, indigent and orphaned.  The buildings were constructed in the Jacobethan Revival style. 

Today, only three of the original buildings remain, the Administration building, the Old Folks building, (nursing home,) and the Old Hospital.  The winery occupies the Odd Fellows Administration Building, the oldest structure on the property.  The basement was renovated to be used as the wine cellar and processing area.  The first floor holds the winery, ice cream shop, and event rooms.

Several paranormal investigative groups have been to Belvoir Winery.  All have reported some type of activity.  Reports range from footsteps, screams, and unidentified laughter, to male spirits, shadows that move on their own, and clothing being tugged on.  Much of the activity is reported to be in the cellar area of the winery.

There has been enough activity on the grounds and in the buildings that Belvoir Winery offers public and private paranormal investigations of the facilities. Paranormal Research Investigators heads up the monthly public sessions.  According to PRI members, Belvoir is one of the most haunted locations they have investigated.

There is also an I.O.O.F. cemetery on the property.  A plot, headstone and funeral were available to all Odd Fellow members when the district home was in operation.  Over 600 members are interred here.

While home to numerous ghosts, Belvoir Winery is also home to six wines.  The winery is open seven days a week and free tastings are available.  To learn more, or schedule a ghostly tour, visit

Next week, we follow the spirits westward…..

~ Joy