Wine & Beer

Looking for a grown-up Halloween? These 6 SLO County haunts have wicked good wines

A fake tombstone mimics a real cemetary near Graveyard Vineyards in San Miguel.
A fake tombstone mimics a real cemetary near Graveyard Vineyards in San Miguel.

Let’s be honest — Halloween isn’t just for the kids. Plenty of adults like to dress up, eat, drink and be scary, too.

Lucky for us, a handful of San Luis Obispo County producers make frightfully delicious wines perfect for All Hallows’ Eve.

Here are a few killer bottles to scare up before the big night.

Pick your poison and have a Happy Hallo-wine!

Graveyard Vineyards

6990 Estrella Road, San Miguel

805-467-2043 or

Paula and Rob Campbell-Taylor were dead serious when they started Graveyard Vineyards, named for the 150-year-old cemetery at the bottom of the hill where their winery sits.

A decade and many awards later, they’ve started having fun with the name — especially at Halloween.

Conjure images of graveyards with bottles of Mortal Zin, Psycho Sirah and Tombstone red, white and pink, or summon a skull from the trick of the eye on the label of the Sweet Illusions cream sherry. And don’t miss the newest addition: the Edvard Munch-inspired Scream, featuring a ghostly glow-in-the-dark apparition.

As the Campbell-Taylors say, this is “wine to die for.”

Graveyard Vineyards Scream
Scream, a wine from Graveyard Cellars in San Miguel, features a glow-in-the-dark label inspired by Edvard Munch’s painting “The Scream.” David Middlecamp

Chronic Cellars

2020 Nacimiento Lake Drive, Paso Robles

805-237-7848 or

Chronic Cellars salutes the Mexican holiday Día de los Muertos with labels depicting fanciful skeletons ideal for Day of the Dead celebrations. Dead Nuts and Sofa King Bueno make a festive couple, while Purple Paradise and Spritz & Giggles blend kindly and spooky.

A past Halloween party lives on with Unteachables, emblazoned with skeleton versions of founding brothers Josh and Jake Beckett and the artist behind their linocut labels, Joe Kalionzes.

Chronic Cellars
Halloween-themed wines from Chronic Cellars in Paso Robles include Purple Paradise, Dead Nuts, Spritz & Giggles and Sofa King Bueno. David Middlecamp

Sans Liege

2995 Limestone Way, Paso Robles, and 870 Price St., Pismo Beach

805-773-2770 or

For a more classical take, look to the reserve line at Sans Liege, wrapped in haunting images from Dante’s “Inferno.” The closer you look at the collages of Gustave Dore’s 19th-century engravings, the eerier they feel.

Harrowing winged creatures, shadowy figures, writhing bodies and sinister demons blanket bottles of The Adversary, Call to Arms, En Gedi and The Prophetess, while prisoners waste away in a sliver of light on Pickpocket. Gripping, unconventional storytelling in the tasting notes adds another element.

Get a bird's-eye view of Tooth & Nail Winery's large "castle" and expansive vineyards off Highway 46 West in Paso Robles in this 2017 drone video.

The Fableist

3005 Limestone Way, Paso Robles

805-246-1431 or

Sometimes the simplest designs make the boldest statements.

The scorpion adorning Fableist’s new zinfandel is downright creepy. Pair it with the axe and bundle of switches on the tempranillo and sauvignon blanc to deliver a starkly ominous message.

Each wine represents a classic fable — and if that doesn’t strike you as foreboding, remember that those tales get rather dark. Remember the scorpion who stings the frog as they cross a river, dooming both to drown?

Halloween wines
Halloween-themed wines include Moon Shadow and Raven from Shadow Run Vineyards in Creston; Adversary and Call to Arms from Sans Liege in Paso Robles and Pismo Beach; a scorpion-inspired zinfandel from The Fableist in Paso Robles and Scream from Graveyard Vineyards in San Miguel. David Middlecamp

Shadow Run Vineyards

2720 La Panza Road, Creston

805-227-0554 or

A single raven silhouetted in the sky, shadows stretching out across a dim landscape. You’ll find these classic images reminiscent of a spine-tingling Edgar Allan Poe tale among the offerings at the Evans family’s small operation in Creston.

Quaff the Raven as you quoth Poe’s “The Raven.” Or prepare to set out after dark with Moon Shadow’s twisted tree and lone figure casting spooky shadows under a moonlit sky. Either way, you’ll set the stage for an unsettling evening.

Halloween wine cemetery
A cemetery rests at the bottom of the hill where Graveyard Vineyards is located in San Miguel. David Middlecamp

Rabble Wine Co. And Tooth & Nail Winery

3090 Anderson Road, Paso Robles

805-369-6100 or

Scenes of destruction unfurl across Rabble’s labels, making them a must-have for apocalyptic gatherings. Woodblock prints from the 1500s depict nature’s wrath: tempests, volcanoes, tsunamis, dragons, medieval cities in flames. Harbingers of doom take the form of Medusa and siren mermaids.

Another winery label, Tooth & Nail, showcases struggle with menacing animal prints from John James Audubon. The castle-themed winery provides a suitable setting for Halloween outings.

Tooth and Nail 1
At Tooth & Nail Winery in Paso Robles, a bottle of The Fiend sits near macabre artwork. David Middlecamp

Sally Buffalo writes about wine, beer and spirits. Reach her at or stay updated by following @sallybuffalo on Instagram and Twitter.

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