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 first saw the vision across the sky. The image was red wine, and the name was Vampire. Some 3000 miles later Machat emerged in NY eager to share what, he thought, was a brilliant idea. Unfortunately the reaction from the wine trade was disbelief. “A wine named Vampire? What was this young New York lawyer thinking?” At that time the notion of calling a wine Vampire®, let alone describing it as the Blood of the Vine!® was downright silly if not irreverent. Wine was meant to be taken seriously; it wasn’t meant for playing games.
Not perturbed by the skeptics, the idea stayed with him. Transylvania was the logical choice, but at the time it was ruled by the communist dictator Ceausescu, and marketing was illegal. They too weren’t interested in Machat’s ideas. But the power of the vision stayed with him.
Later that year music/trademark attorney, Michael Machat, visited London for what was supposed to be a four week business trip. It was here that he met the girl who would become the future Countess to Vampire wines, and his wife to this day — British beauty musician/writer Lisa Dominique. Michael’s one month stay in England lasted 7 years and in 1990, Michael married English rock star Lisa Dominique.
While representing artists in England, Machat didn’t give up on his vision. Since Transylvania wasn’t an option, he began elsewhere. In 1988, while living in London, he released the first Vampire wine, a full bodied Algerian Syrah bottled in France. Next was an Italian Sangiovese, which found its way back home to the Anne Rice Fan Club in New Orleans.
It wasn’t until 1990 when the Berlin Wall was torn down and the Romanian people executed their leader that Michael began his early trips to Transylvania seeking a winery for his concept. It wasn’t easy. Marketing had been unlawful for 45 years and the Romanians had no appreciation for the western world’s notion of a vampire. Many vintners were too proud to allow Machat to brand their wine as he envisioned. They had a different understanding of vampires, and convincing them that the idea would work was surprisingly not simple.
In 1995, one decade after that road trip, Michael brought his vision to life. He had at long last found a home for his idea in Transylvania. From the soil and roots of the legendary Count Dracula, Vampire had arisen and the true blood of the vine was born.
Over two decades have passed since that first production of Vampire wine in Transylvania, and we are proud to say it has been a wonderful journey of making our wines the best that they can be. Along the way, both Michael and Lisa’s palates matured. They began demanding better and better wine for their Vampire Brand.
So in 2007, the Machat family uprooted their connections in Transylvania and moved their wine production to California where they reside. The first California production was produced in Paso Robles. The following year the Machats began expanding the Vampire range, adding Dracula and Trueblood to their upper range of wines.
With an unyielding thirst for even more distinctive and sophisticated wines, the Machats established a winery up in Napa where they produce Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay. In May 2014, their Trueblood Mt. Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon won a Gold Medal and scored 90 Points at the Los Angeles International Wine and Spirits Competition.
In 2011 the Countess Lisa Dominique designed and opened up the Vampire Lounge & Tasting Room in Beverly Hills. The venue has become a favorite of many to hang out and relax over a glass of wine. (The staff are discreet as would be expected in a place haunted by entertainment personalities. )
In 2014, the Countess Lisa also proudly released her first Vampire novel, “A Walk in the Sun” – a Vampire Vineyards publication. The book has garnered great reviews and has been compared to the classic Bram Stoker’s Dracula by Kirkus Reviews.
Whatever the Machat “Vampire Vineyards’ Family share and produce, they surround it with a passion that reveals their love for what they do. Be it their range of award winning wines, their delicious fine Vampire Belgian chocolates or their eclectic Vampire Coffees, or maybe just a cozy night by the fire reading “A Walk in the Sun” whilst sipping the blood of the Vine! It’s what they love to do. It is their passion, and that passion is something they feel blessed to be able to share with you.