Other than hearsay, very little is known of the once-popular regional vintage called “Erytheia’s Tears.” Appearing infrequently in the journals and letters of local aristocrats, the wine is described as retaining a golden hue, with a mild body resembling most Rieslings. Aged during the prohibition era, it was held in high repute for its low bottle variation and high resistance to bottle shock.
Though the region is chiefly known for its production of wines from the Vinifera grape, with its sweet finish when aged in regional steel casks, some have speculated that the grape used in Erytheia’s Tears was distantly related to the Kerner grape, also bred in the late 1920s. While such speculation is considered implausible, recent documents found at the archives at the Weinsberg State Breeding Institute do show a correspondence between August Herold (the varietal breeder of the Kerner grape) and an Ichor Falls herbalist named Alfons Kobell.
It is said of Kobell that he discovered this grape near the northern ingress of the Stillwood. He wrote that though it was a mild October, frost outlined the fruit, imbuing it with “an angelic hue.” He further wrote that when attempting to transplant it, he found that the rootstock had intertwined with an “unidentifiable mass.”
Much speculation has been made regarding this entry. Local lore says that the roots had grown into the shape of a human heart, while others go so far as to claim it had grown from an actual heart, animal or human. Regardless of the truth, rumors spread to include tales of transient workers that went missing after being employed by the winery that cultivated the vines. Some said that their hearts had been removed to fertilize the grape. These stories only served to increase interest in this unique wine, particularly in select aristocratic circles of Ichor Falls and neighboring towns.
However, rumor soon grew into suspicion, and on November 7th, 1931, a group of “prohibitionists” raided the small winery and razed the fields. Later, under sworn affidavit, witnesses claimed that while the vines burned, the late fruit could be seen untouched among the ash. One such witness claimed that when he went to rescue the grapes from the encroaching blaze, the ground beneath was cold to the touch.
Recent excavation of the area found nothing of note.