The year was 1985, and it was pitch dark on a rural highway somewhere in the Nevada desert. The only visible lights were the stars up above, when Michael Machat, our company’s founder first got bitten by the Vampire bug. Some 3000 miles later Machat emerged in NY and tried to share his enthusiasm for what he thought was a brilliant idea.
Unfortunately, the wine trade reacted as if he were indeed bit by something. “Who would want to buy a wine called Vampire,” was the common refrain?
“I would” was Machat’s answer, and not perturbed by the skeptics, Machat sought out the holy grail of wines. Transylvania was the logical choice, but at the time it was ruled by the evil Ceausescu who imposed a communist dictatorship. Marketing and laughter had been declared illegal since the end of World War Two, and Machat’s attempts to explain his ideas to bureaucrats in the Ceausescu regime, were shot down faster than someone trying to climb over the Berlin Wall.
Nevertheless, still determined to share the Blood of Vine, Machat found a full bodied Algerian Syrah in France. In 1988, he sold the first five hundred bottles of this cuvee to Alice Cooper and MCA Records in London, England, and he was in business, offering the wine in high-end London wine shops, such as Selfridges.
Machat continued his travels throughout Europe and the following year, he changed the supply to an Italian Sangiovese. Machat shipped some 672 bottles of this Vampire Sangiovese to the Anne Rice Fan club in New Orleans.
Then at the beginning of the 1990’s, when raves and house music were the rage in London, the Berlin wall had been torn down, and the Romanian people had executed their leader, the sun slowly began to shine through Romania once more. Transylvania had opened to the possibility of commerce. But after years of closed darkness, the Transylvania people had become as afraid of Westerners as Westerners were afraid of vampires.
Machat persuaded some friends to risk their souls and join his quest for the Taste of Immortality. The early trips to Transylvania were treacherous to the psyche, and some came home with haunting dreams of the insanity they left behind. Rumors began to spread that Machat, an entertainment lawyer, was merely a front for a circle of vampires. Whether the rumors were true or not, by mid 1995, the blood of the vine began to stealthily trickle through New York and small pockets of America, becoming a prized possession. At the turn of the millennium, Faith Popcorn, the leading futurist and Nostradamus of marketing prophesized that Vampire Wine would spread and become a trend. Her prophecy came true. Soon thereafter, the blood of the vine appeared in Maxim, Elle, and In Style magazines, and was broadcast on CNN Headline News, Food TV and MTV. Sales grew to over half a million bottles per year.
Along the way, Machat’s palate matured. He began to demand better and better wine for the Vampire Brand of Wines. So in 2007, we uprooted our connections in Transylvania and moved the wine production to sunny California. The first California production was produced in Paso Robles, with the grapes coming from the Santa Margarita Vineyards. The following year we began expanding the Vampire range, adding even more nuanced wines made from grapes sourced from even more sought after vineyards. First in the upper range of wines was Chateau du Vampire, and then Dracula, and now Trueblood.
With an unyielding thirst for even more distinctive and sophisticated wines, we established a winery up in Napa where we produce Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from Mt. Veeder, another Cabernet Sauvignon from St. Helena, a Pinot Noir from Carneros and a Chardonnay from Carneros. In May 2014, our Trueblood Mt. Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon won a Gold Medal and scored 90 Points at the Los Angeles International Wine and Spirits Competition.
In 2011 we opened up the Vampire Lounge & Tasting Room in Beverly Hills where we proudly showcase our wines.