Odd Culture

Melissa Sander: The Legend of the Grape Lady

posted by Chris Valentine

Melissa Sander
There’s a legend ’round here. A legend ’bout a lady. A grape lady.

They say she was a reporter in the late 90s, just doin’ a story like all reportin’ types are wont to do. A story ’bout a grape stomping competition. They say she started stompin’ on some ol’ grapes down by the winery – the Chateau Elan, ya’see. Then she got ta’ cheatin’ on that grape stompin’, tryin’ to beat out the other lady that be stompin’ there with her. Turns out the goddess of the vineyard don’t like cheaters. An’ she got to punishin’ the grape lady – a harsh punishment, a painful punishment. She caused the grape lady to fall – right off that platform, right to the ground! They say you could hear her screams miles away! Screams of agony! They say the camera kept on filmin’, and people all over the country could turn on their TV sets and see first hand the wrath of the goddess of the vineyards.

Soon after, the grape lady disappeared. Some folk’ say she never existed. But I knows better. Yes sir, I knows. She’s out there. Waitin’ to get her turn again – to win that grape stompin’ contest. That’s why they say every grape stompin’ contest since has been haunted by the grape lady. If you listen, you can hear her ghostly scream – “Oww! Ohh! Oww! I can’t breathe! Aowww! Aowww!”

Determined to track down the grape lady, we at Odd Culture started our investigation at the Chateau Elan Winery and Resort. This is where the incident began.

The grape lady’s name was Melissa Sander, and she worked for MyFox Atlanta, which is Channel 5, in Atlanta, GA. Soon after the “incident” (AKA Bad Day @ Good Day Atlanta), Melissa Sander ran away to WTEN Albany, working as a weekend meteorologist, where according to one person, acted like she owned the world. Of course, everyone knew the real story – that she was just “owned” by a bunch of grapes.

Melissa Sander Albany Profile

Melissa Sander Albany Profile (now defunct)

Sometime in 2004 she jumped ship again, this time setting up shop at Fox 29 Philadelphia. At some point after that, it seems she jumped over to UPN 57, which is now known as CW Philly. Apparently, she was fired in 2006.

This is where the trail runs cold. She seems to have disappeared. Has she finally escaped? Settled down on an island far away where nobody has internet access? Did she really ascend into grape heaven?

Anybody with any information leading to Melissa Sanders will get a batch of chambourcin grapes from us. Grape Lady, we can still hear your screams…

Update – April 2010

Not much word on Melissa in the few years since this post. Some more info (just a little):

  • After CW Philly, she was at NBC 17 in Raleigh Durham, where she won a 2006 Couldn’t Do It Without You Award.
  • In 2008, her cameraman – Gus Valdes – was interviewed. He said that Sander wasn’t seriously hurt. She ended up with some bruised ribs and “a bruised ego” but nothing worse. She was back on the air soon after.
  • She may be – and this is just a guess – still living in the Raleigh/Durham area. A cache of WNCN (aka NBC17) current personalities lists her as a “Meteorologist, Fill-in” but recent entries do not feature her name. We assume she is no longer employed at NBC17 but the date of her leaving is unknown. Any info on Melissa’s whereabouts is welcomed.

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