Grapevine & Vintner Profile, Wining & Dining

Wineries That Will Survive The Zombie Apocalypse

By Matthew Fitzsimmons

Wineries That Will Survive The Zombie Apocalypse

Planning for the Zombie Apocalypse has never been timelier. Not long ago, the idea that a mysterious contagion could sweep the United States and cause mass chaos seemed confined to works of fiction. But now…planning “What If” scenarios like “Where should I go when the zombie hordes are approaching” doesn’t seem so far-fetched.

Many ideas on where to ride out the coming storm come to mind…most of them rather obvious. Should you shelter at a Walmart? No way – everyone else will be thinking the same thing. How about the local mall? Saw the movie – didn’t work out so well. Maybe a cabin in the middle of nowhere? Not a bad choice…but will your stockpile last?

If you think carefully, there ARE other places fitting all the necessary survival criteria. Locations far enough from population centers but close enough for survivors to reach. Places surrounded by farms invaluable in a post-industrial world. Land located on hilltops that are naturally defensible. And most importantly – hideouts with cellars absolutely STOCKED with wine.

In the Zombie Apocalypse, wine is a triple value-added proposition – safe to drink when water treatment plants fail, essential for team building, and easy to barter for other essentials. So naturally, the perfect place to survive is at a winery.

To those familiar with the Virginia wine industry, this is hardly a surprise. As Scott Spelbring of Bluemont Vineyards explains, “The best vineyards have very specific criteria. You want a location with at least a 900-foot elevation to ensure your vines are above the frost line, rocky soil for good drainage, and a moderate slope that not only forces cold air to drop, makes it difficult for zombies to climb your hilltop bastion.”

Doug Fabbioli of Fabbioli Cellars further opined, “While the main purpose of the New Ag School is to ensure sustainable agriculture thrives in Loudoun County, I’m proud we’re training future generations the skills they’ll need in a post-World War Z environment”.

Virginia winemakers aren’t the only business in town studying how to cope with a zombie pandemic. In 2011, the Department of Defense drafted CONPLAN 8888 (Counter-Zombie Dominance) as a teaching tool for contingency planning. Not to be outdone, later that year the Center for Disease Control (CDC) published several articles using a ‘notional’ zombie pandemic to educate the public on disaster preparation.

The Zombie Apocalypse is coming – so be prepared!

Fighting Undead Hordes is Thirsty Work

To determine a winery’s suitability as a refuge, the following locations were vetted using a rigorous analytical methodology provided by CareerBuilder which aggregated information from 90 national, state and local employment databases. It was further adapted to the Virginia wine scene by developing a winery’s rating in the areas of Resources (wine/food/manufacturing), Defensibility (natural geography/weaponry), and Demographics (population density/population skill sets). These scores were tallied into a Zombie Defense Index (ZDI) and ranked.

Virginia Winery Survivability Rankings


Resources (R-Score)

Defensibility (D-Score)

Demographics (P-Score)

ZDI Score (R+D+P)

Survivability Ranking

Grayhaven Winery






Morais Vineyards & Winery






Iron Heart Winery






Bluemont Vineyard






Chatham Vineyards & Winery






#5: Grayhaven Winery. Grayhaven is situated almost mid-way between Richmond and Charlottesville. The winery is picturesque, reminiscent of a scene from Tolkien. Located in a sparsely populated agricultural region whose main industry, Grayhaven rates well on Resources and Demographics.

Grayhaven is one of the few Virginia wineries that grows Pinotage, a full-bodied, fruity variety that pairs great with BBQ. But my favorite beverage is their Rivercrest port-style wine that is great with cheese. Charcuterie boards will be rare in a post-apocalypse world, but fortunately this drinks well on its own.

In theory, Grayhaven should rank low on the Defense scale, but it has an ace up its sleeve – this winery has ALREADY survived a zombie outbreak. See…this was the filming location for Attack of the Vegan Zombies. For this proven record against the undead, it’s rated #5 of the winery survival index.

#4: Morais Vineyards & Winery. Morais is part of a blended community of agricultural and residential developments about an hour outside of D.C. This puts it out of immediate reach of aggressive survivors but remember – zombie hordes know no fatigue.

They are famous for its amazing cherry wine and a light, crisp Vihno Verde-style wine aptly-named “Battlefield”. When you’ve been on the run from shambling corpses all day, you’ll NEED a bottle of this.

Morais’ ZDI ranking would be fairly low if it wasn’t for one very, very important thing: THEY HAVE A TANK.

That’s right, this is the only winery that has a 20,000 pound zombie-crunching death medal machine. For this reason alone, Morais is one of the safest post-apocalypse wineries in the state.

Wine blogger Becca Bullard Lowe at Morais, preparing to lead the charge against flesh-eating ghouls (Photo Credit: BeccaDrinksWine)

#3 Iron Heart Winery: Iron Heart is nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, south-west of Roanoke. The winery’s natural isolation, low-population density, and role as a farm greatly increases its Resource, Demographics, and Defense scores. Even if they never produced a drop of wine, this is exactly where you’d want to hole up.

My favorite is their dry Riesling, although their Cabernet Franc is excellent too. What makes this winery truly remarkable is the backstory. Iron Heart’s name is double-edged; it’s in honor of the location’s history as a steel mill, and the strength of character of the women who once owned the farm. In their honor, Iron Heart uses the ladies who work here, friends, & family members as models for their bottle art.

Even a zombie with a half-rotten brain will know not to mess with this group of bad-ass women.

An Iron Heart bottle label model…with a real shotgun (Photo Credit: Kristen H. Photography)

#2 Bluemont Vineyard: Bluemont has a justifiable reputation as having the best view in the state, with the Washington Monument visible on a clear day. No doubt, that view would be equally useful in detecting approaching zombie hordes or hostile biker convoys.

They have a great selection, but Bluemont’s Albariño and “Ascent” red-blend are particularly good. It’s fortunate their barrel room is fully stocked. Once the mountain becomes besieged, you’re going to need supplies to sustain yourself.

Bluemont also has a secret weapon – nearby Mt. Weather. This high-security government compound serves a relocation site for senior officials in event of a national emergency. With neighbors like that, Bluemont is the perfect location to stay in a crisis.

#1 Chatham Vineyards: Chatham is without a doubt the top winery pick for surviving a pandemic. This area is already thinly populated, plus being adjacent to the Chesapeake Bay gives them an escape route from any land-based zombie swarms.

Chatham’s sandy-loam soil and maritime climate allows them to grow an outstanding mineral-driven Chardonnay, perfect for serving with oysters. Red drinkers will love the soft and food-friendly Merlot.

If this wasn’t enough, it’s close to Virginia Beach – one of the top 5 cities most likely to survive a Zombie Apocalypse, according to a CareerBuilder study of 53 U.S. metropolitan areas.

As winemaker Jon Wehner explained, “It’s no surprise Chatham was rated #1. We offer award-wining wine, friendly service, and an early 19th century manor home which is the perfect post-apocalypse refuge.”

Great wine and security – what more can you ask for?

0.00 avg. rating (0% score) - 0 votes