Our Ghost Winery Legacy
‘Ghost Winery’ is a term used to describe a winery that was built between 1860 and 1900 and fell into disrepair in the early 20th century due to the triple threat of the vine disease phylloxera, the Great Depression, and of course, Prohibition. Before 1919, when Prohibition began, there were an estimated 713 winery businesses in California. Following its repeal 14 years later, only 40 wineries were left. This resulted in a wave of abandoned wineries throughout the next several decades. Many wineries of the time disappeared forever; others were left in ruins.
One of these ghost wineries happens to now be the home of John Komes. Originally constructed in 1885, the Charles Brockhoff Winery was an active winemaking operation for over twenty years until Prohibition forced the family out of business. It was rumored that this building was then used for organizing bootleg wine. The Brockhoff winery remained abandoned until the 1930s when Louis M. Martini arrived in Napa Valley and purchased the property. Martini lived on the property with his family until his death in 1974, using the old winery primarily for storage. When John Komes’ parents, Jerry and Flora Komes, purchased the property in 1977, John completely renovated the old stone winery. He lives there with his wife, Carrie, to this day.
Every year we bottle a small amount of estate-grown Malbec from the vines in front of the old Brockhoff winery in honor of Flora Springs illustrious history. Featuring a hand-drawn etching of the historic stone cellar, the Ghost Winery Malbec evokes early Flora Springs labels in its look and typeface. Learn more about this limited-production wine.