By. Neil Williamson
To the best of my knowledge, this story is true. Any errors are the authors alone and represent the lapse of memory.
About ten years ago I was privileged to work for Prince Michel Vineyards in Leon. Several years prior to my arrival on the management team, the winery had acquired another vineyard known as Rapidan River. The Rapidan River vineyard property was situated, as one might guess, along the Rapidan River. This is an area that was rather active during the Civil War. Finding musket balls was pretty commonplace around the vineyard but every now and again we would uncover a cannon ball which was most exciting.
By means of background my knowledge of ghosts is exceedingly limited. I consider myself to be a Scooby Doo kind of skeptic — there’s always someone being the curtain pulling the ropes — “and he would of gotten away with it too if not for those meddling kids”
Anyway, I digress back to the story, on the Rapidan River Vineyard were two older houses. One the winery had converted to house some of our temporary vineyard workers during harvest. The other house served as the winemaker’s home where he lived with his wife and two small children.
In the early part of the 1999 harvest, the vineyard workers were very rattled. It seemed the old rotary phone that we kept in the house had moved across the room and been answered twice without any one getting out of bed. There were also stories of other things moving about the living room without any logical means of motion. The stories were more than enough to get me to as the winemaker to take a look around the workers house.
He reported back that everything looked OK a little disheveled but OK. He also mentioned a large volume of Bud Light cans in the kitchen. He and I wrote off this little apparition as nothing more than an example of barley induced group thinking.
A few weeks later, the winemaker’s wife was preparing dinner when her then four-year old boy came running into the house asking if it was OK to play with the “new” boy. As the vineyard was miles away from other residences, she pressed what new boy. The young man replied the boy in the front yard wearing a grey cap and with the gray coat and silver buttons. He wanted to play a rolling hoop game with him.
More than a little intrigued the wife moved to the front door and looked along the old worn brick path that twisted along the front of the house and around the back. She saw nothing.
But when she looked in the saucer sized eyes of her four-year old she knew he was telling the truth. He again described a light gray overcoat that was too big for the boy and bright silver buttons.
The winemaker and his family lived in the house another five years and while he paid special attention to every odd shake rattle and roll in the old house but never again did the boy make an appearance.
More than ten years later, I can still see the truth in the eyes of the winemaker as he related the story. I know I believe! Do you?
Neil Williamson, known throughout the Virginia Wine Industry as The Grumpy Marketing Guy”, serves as Chairman of the Virginia Wine Club Tasting Panel and Editor of The Virginia Wine Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org