It’s not every day you find yourself nose to nose with a live camel. If you do, here are a couple of facts: They are incredibly intimidating creatures with enormous feet and a fairly dry sense of humor. Also a fact: They have soft fur and they enjoy people taking selfies with them.

How do I know? There were two of them at the Indiana Jordan and the Lost City of Cab on Saturday, Oct. 20. at Jordan Winery.

Denial on the Nile Party at Jordan Winery, 2018. Photos courtesy of Will Bucquoy, Jordan Winery Facebook. More pix at https://www.facebook.com/jordanwinery/

Now in its tenth year, winery owner John Jordan’s annual Halloween parties have always been one of the best harvest Bacchanalia for the wine trade. They’re legendary. And did we mention the live camels? Apparently, that’s not the craziest thing to ever walk into one of these events.

Since 2008, the private Alexander Valley fete has hosted hundreds of costumed revelers from around the country for an over-the-top evening that marks the end(ish) of harvest. John Jordan also loves a good costume party. This year’s theme took its inspiration from Raiders of the Lost Ark, the original Indiana Jones movie, set among the pyramids of Egypt. Previous themes have included Star Wars, glampires, dark fairytales and pirates. It’s a highly coveted ticket.

Last year’s Halloween bash was canceled, so the 2018 gathering took on special significance for Jordan.

“Last year, life as we knew it for thousands of people had changed, and we didn’t feel like celebrating. This year, Halloween at Jordan is back,” said Jordan in a video introduction for the event. Jordan’s Foundation is contributing funds to Rebuilding Our Community (ROC) Sonoma, a non-profit organization working with fire survivors who have a long road to recovery.

Denial on the Nile Party at Jordan Winery, 2018. Photos courtesy of Will Bucquoy, Jordan Winery Facebook. More pix at https://www.facebook.com/jordanwinery. PS, that’s me on the right with Shana Bull and Landon McPherson. 

Instead of an invitation for Indiana Jordan and the Lost City of Cab, Jordan spent three months making a 12-minute parody film of Raiders of the Lost Ark for guests. The professionally-produced short was developed, shot and edited by the in-house marketing team and includes with mummies, skeletons, dancing Pharaohs, Jordan defying flying corks of doom and a version of the unforgettable plane scene. Jordan’s version includes golf carts, bad German accents, a vintage motorcycle, a very large gun, some very large bottles of wine and a very large man with a bad skull cap. The video ends with Jordan flying his yellow Piper J-3 Cub airplane over the Sonoma Vineyards. Yes, that happened.

Denial on the Nile Party at Jordan Winery, 2018. Photos courtesy of Will Bucquoy, Jordan Winery Facebook. More pix at https://www.facebook.com/jordanwinery/

Welcomed by the camels, along with Jordan and his staff, this year’s invitees included 375 mummies, Pharaohs, Cleopatras, archeological adventurers, belly dancers, camel riders, black cats, at least one gold cobra, The Bangles and some people in very confusing costumes who may or may not have understood the theme of the party, according to organizers,

Guests are mostly wine industry and hospitality professionals hailing from around the country who are fans of the Alexander Valley vineyard’s top-shelf cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay and Champagne (a joint project with Champagne AR Lenoble in France).

Denial on the Nile Party at Jordan Winery, 2018. Photos courtesy of Will Bucquoy, Jordan Winery Facebook. More pix at https://www.facebook.com/jordanwinery/

Festivities throughout the night included a professionally-overseen archery range, a dance floor in the barrel room, mountains of food (including raw oysters and caviar) a fair number of scantily-clothed people painted gold and Jordan himself appearing in several costume changes. Restraint isn’t really a thing at a John Jordan soiree.

“I love this event,” said Jordan late in the evening, as sleepy princesses, warriors, and the undead made their way toward shuttles.

Denial on the Nile Party at Jordan Winery, 2018. Photos courtesy of Will Bucquoy, Jordan Winery Facebook. More pix at https://www.facebook.com/jordanwinery/. Yep, me again, but with the camel. See how bored he looks?

Unless they were invited to the after party. But that’s a whole different story.

You can contribute to Jordan’s $25,000 ROC fund, simply by watching this video before November 1, 2018. Every video view means a $1 donation to Rebuilding Our Community Sonoma County, said Jordan spokesperson Lisa Mattson. 

Note: No camels were mistreated during the evening and had very patient professional handlers. Okay, the one-humped camels had to deal with some very irritating people who wanted to ride them, but that was quickly shut down. In truth, the camels seemed pretty bored with the whole thing.

Also, I don’t go to a ton of parties (this was my first year at Jordan, but the chance to wear a belly dancing outfit (thanks, Janina) and a ton of gold glitter was hard to say no to.