the perennial wine
perfect for Halloween
Of all the existing wine brands that people buy for Halloween, Vampire Wine is the only one that can attest to having stood the test of time. Vampire wine’s origins began in 1985, and in 1988 it was first sold in the United Kingdom and Benelux before finally being exported to the US in 1989 for a special event put on by the Anne Rice Fan Club in New Orleans. The first two batches of Vampire wine ever made came from a syrah grape that we sourced from Algeria and had bottled in France. Then we moved the production to Italy and we began bottling Sangiovese di Romagna grapes as Vampire Wine.
Of course, during this time period, our founder, Michael Machat had tried to obtain wine from Transylvania, Romania, but the people that controlled the Romanian economy were communists and had no desire to engage in any marketing. Plus, they told Machat, they already had one importer in the UK, and they saw no need to have more than one. When Machat inquired about importing wine into the USA, he was told again, they already had a wine importer – Pepsi, and there was no need for another wine importer.
During the 1980’s most of the wine trade thought Machat was nuts. They thought it was sacrilegious to call a wine Vampire. But Machat continued to sell Vampire wine in the UK and Benelux anyway, and during this time, he saw for the first time that the English, even though Halloween was an American Holiday, wanted to buy it for Halloween parties held in pubs and restaurants. Our first demand for Vampire during Halloween surfaced in October 1988. Halloween in England 1989 was much the same, but this time, Machat couldn’t help but notice the Iron Curtain was falling. The Berlin Wall was being torn down, and soon after the Romanian people executed their communist dictator, Nicolae Ceaușescu.
Vampire Wine Tasting
6 BOTTLE PACK
In 1990, while in New York, Machat reached out to Pespsico and wondered if they would be interested in working with him to bring the blood of the vine to the US. They declined, but Larry Soll, the man in charge of importing Romanian wine for Pepsi’s subsidiary, Monseiur Henri company, saw the light. He was about to retire, and had Machat pitch the idea to his boss. After they passed, Larry Soll introduced Machat to Pepsi’s contacts in Romania, and not long after Machat was in Transylvania, meeting with wineries to collaborate with. Having been communist for the past 45 years, the Romania people had no understanding of marketing. Bran Castle, which some say was the Castle Bram Stoker describes in Dracula, was a furniture museum.
It was closed when Machat first arrived there. A $20 bill was sufficient for the caretaker to nevertheless give Machat and his friend a private tour.
It was quite a difficult process sourcing Transylvanian wine to be used as Vampire. One winery owner screamed in horror when Machat’s translator explained he wanted the prized wine to be labeled as Vampire. He was too proud to put that name on his wine. He missed out. Eventually deals were made and the first Vampire Wine from Transylvania was imported into the US in 1995, in time for Halloween. It was brought to the attention of those arranging the New York Halloween Parade and was featured in the Halloween parade parties and soon became a best seller in New York. The popularity of Vampire wine slowly spread throughout the country. Ever since 1995, Vampire Wine has been featured at countless Halloween parties.
In 2005, Cost Plus World Market started carrying Vampire wine in their stores for Halloween, and it has been a perennial Halloween selection ever since, leading others in the wine industry to try to come up with their own Halloween wine.
Despite the popularity of sales during Halloween, Machat never envisioned Vampire to be a Halloween wine; instead it was and is meant to be a wine for everyday drinking. In order to take better control over the quality of Vampire Wine, Machat in 2006 moved the production from Transylvania to California, where it is still made today, winning gold medals year after year. Vampire wine may be the perfect wine for Halloween, scoring 90 plus points by wine writers, but more importantly it is perfect year-round. Have a look around our website and pick some up for yourself. Once you do, you’ll be a customer for life.