Supposedly, the Wine caused the drinker to "explode", as evidenced when one of Wilhelm's men's chest bursts open after drinking the tainted wine. It is possible that, after consuming the Wine, they were left badly disfigured, but not dead.
(edited by The Kaernk)
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Yes, there were some spell casting done by Alexander. The baron used his magical power to summon the spirits from another dimension, place them inside the disfigured bodies, and once the spirits bind into the bodies, the gatherers are born.