Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Haunted Wineries of the Northwestern U.S.

It’s Halloween – the perfect time to explore a haunted winery or two.  This is our last look at haunted U.S. wineries, so pour a glass of something dark and brooding as we explore some ‘spirited’ wineries, and those who make them so…

Chateau Ste Michelle is the oldest winery in Washington State and one of the most acclaimed.  Located near Woodinville on 105 wooded acres, Chateau Ste Michelle is also said to be haunted. 

The Manor House was built in 1912 by Seattle lumber baron Frederick Stimson.  The winery actually began in 1934 with the formation of the Pommerelle Wine Company, which made fruit wines, and the National Wine Company.  In 1954, the two companies merged to form American Wine Growers.  Ste Michelle began in 1967 as a new line of wines for the AWG Company.

Nine years later, in 1976, a French style Chateau was built in Woodinville and the name was changed to Chateau Ste Michelle.  In 1984, the winery helped obtain federal BATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms and Tobacco) recognition of the Columbia Valley as an AVA (American Viticulture Area.)

The original Manor House is the location of most spirited reports.  It is used for meetings and special dinners held in connection to the winery. 

According to staff, a female ghost haunts the back servants stairs of the house, which connects to the kitchen and second floor. Windows on the upper level open on their own, lights go on and off, and doors open and close, seemingly at will.  Cold spots, shadows and footsteps also seem to move from the stairs to the second floor rooms.

Chateau Ste Michelle is open during the winter from 10 A.M. to 5P.M.  For more information, visit


Another spirited female keeps employees on their toes at Argyle Winery in Dundee, Oregon.  Located in the Willamette Valley, Argyle Winery was founded in 1987.  Argyle is celebrating its 25th year in business this year, but its ghost has been around for over a century.

The female spirit that haunts the winery is believed to be that of Lena Elsie Imus.  Lena lived in the house that is now the winery and committed suicide there in 1908 by swallowing carbolic acid. She was 25 years old. According to news reports she was unconscious for ten hours after ingesting the acid.  She was then awake for 24 hours before she died.  During that time she said she had become depressed and thought she had nothing to live for.

But apparently Lena wasn’t ready to move on.  Employees report smelling flowery perfume in the house, laughter comes from empty rooms, lights turn on and off, footsteps can be heard upstairs when no one is there, and gusts of air blow through the house when it is still outside.  Staff also reports that glasses have been heard breaking and shattering in other 
rooms, but when investigated no glass can be found.

Argyle Winery is known for its Pinot Noir wines and they have named one in honor of Lena.  SpiritHouse Pinot Noir is a tribute to Argyle’s resident ghost.

Lena Imus is buried in the Pioneer Cemetery at Dundee, along side her father and two brothers.  On her tombstone are inscribed the words, “Not Dead, But Gone Before”……

Argyle Winery is open daily from 11 A.M. to 5 P.M.  If you stop in, be sure to try the SpiritHouse wine and raise a glass in honor of Lena.  For more information, visit

If you have enjoyed this series on haunted wineries, check out A Grave Interest @
for a look at haunted cemeteries.

Happy Halloween!!

~ Joy