Happy Hallowine and A Toast to Ghost Wineries


You might think of the month of October as Ghost Hunting Month, with the penultimate night of the month the perfect day to go out hunting for ghosts.

But actually the first day of October is National Ghost Hunting Day. (Who knew?)



Goals of National Ghost Hunting Day include raising public awareness of best practices and professionalism in paranormal investigation, increasing appreciation of local history and landmarks across the nation, and uniting and organizing a network of ghost hunting teams in common cause to benefit local Humane Societies and non-profit animal shelters throughout the country.

When I saw that haunted pumpkin wine label (above) for Flora Springs on Twitter, I was instantly entranced and knew exactly what wine would be perfect for Ghost Hunting: one from a Ghost Winery!

A Ghost Winery? What’s a Ghost Winery?

By 1920, California wineries numbered 700; by the end of Prohibition, in 1933, we had only 40. The wineries that didn’t make it are known as “ghost wineries” as all that was left was the ghost of the winery.

Flora Springs is one of those “ghost wineries” that was built between 1860 and 1900 but abandoned in the early 20’s due to vine disease, the Great Depression, and Prohibition. What is now Flora Springs was originally planted in 1885 by the Rennie Brothers, but a 1900 fire along with the other challenges turned the property into a ghost winery from 1904 until 1933 when Louis Martini bought it and lived there until he died in the 1970s. In 1977, Jerry and Flora Komes bought the property, and renovated and restored it. Since 2010, Flora Springs has offered a special bottling with distinct labels on small amounts of estate-grown wines to highlight the winery’s unusual history.


On Saturday October 1, celebrate Ghost Wineries and Ghost Hunting Day at the Ojai Library, 111 E. Ojai Ave from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. at a CSU Channel Islands free public lecture that will discuss Southern California’s Ghost Wineries, part of a series from September through December at libraries throughout Ventura County, as well as the Channel Islands Boating Center. Here’s the list of what, where and when of future lectures.


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Life, Death, Eros on Dia De Los Muertos (plus Freixenet Cava!)

Happy Halloween and Dia De Los Muertos!


an ofrenda in the middle of a labyrnth

What, you don’t know what Dia de Los Muertos is? You mean you don’t have an altar to remember those who have passed?

Wikipedia explains that Day of the Dead  or in Spanish: Día de Muertos “is a Mexican holiday observed throughout Mexico and around the world in other cultures. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died.”

“The celebration takes place on October 31, November 1 and November 2, in connection with the triduum of Allhallowtide: All Hallows’ Eve, Hallowmas, and All Souls’ Day.[2][3] Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars called ofrendas, honoring the deceased using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed, and visiting graves with these as gifts. They also leave possessions of the deceased.”

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Super Simple Pumpkin Soup pairs well with Halloween & Ghost Pines Merlot

We love Halloween around here! We love pumpkin bread and pumpkin soup and even Smashing Pumpkins Ale! We put pumpkin in our pancakes and waffles regularly–not just at Halloween.

We also love all the scary stuff and costumes, and Twisted Oak’s River of Skulls has been a favorite seasonal wine as you can read in this post.

So when a friend of mine sent me this recipe a month ago for a pumpkin soup, I knew we’d be having it during this Halloween season. She also suggested that I pair it with a merlot, Continue reading