Castello di Amorosa is a 13th century inspired Italian castle located in Calistoga, California. It was an awfully cold morning when my family and I pulled up at the magnificent 30 acre vineyard, after a twenty minute drive from our hotel in downtown Napa.
Once inside, we signed up for the guided tour and premium wine tasting which was lead by a nice, young man – Tomaso, who spoke enthusiastically for more than two hours with his thick Italian accent. Tomaso began by giving us some historical facts of Castello di Amorosa, most specifically, of its owner Dario Sattui.
Sattui grew up in San Francisco, and is the grandson of wine pioneer Vittorio Sattui. Dario was fascinated by the wine making process and purchased over a hundred acres of land in Calistoga over 25 years ago. He had a vision of creating a beautiful Italian-inspired winery. Today, Castello di Amorosa is an architect’s dream and can even be booked for weddings and other events. It’s hard for me to imagine a more dreamlike wedding location!
The Great Hall was absolutely impressive with its coffered ceilings, arched windows, and the most beautiful wall paintings. Walking around the different rooms truly made me feel like I was transported to medieval Italy. The interior courtyard was lovely with marble walls and dozens of little tables. Castello even has an authentic torture chamber which was a little to real and quite creepy , but of course it’s part of how castles were built hundreds of years ago.
Castello di Amorosa translates to Castle of Love and took 15 years to built. All the materials used were shipped from Italy, as Sattui wanted to castle to be as authentic as it could. The views of the vineyard and Calistoga hills were absolutely breathtaking. Tomaso told us that the castle cost more than $40 million to build, and that Sattui was inspired by Italian Renaissance architecture when he was roadtripping Europe.
I learned about the wine-making process and the difference in making red and white wine, which I’ve always been curious about. Basically, it’s all about how the grapes are fermented; to make white wine you take out the skin, stems, and seeds, so its basically only the juice. To make red wine, you leave every part of the grape after pressing to be fermented. Hence, red wine is more complex than white wine.
The wine produced at Castello can only be bought at the castle or ordered online. My mother and I tried five of the premium wines and my favorite was Il Barone, a dark fruity Cabernet Sauvignon. Additionally we were given the castle’s brand dark chocolate which paired just fantastically with the wine.
Visiting Castello di Amorosa and learning about the history of the place was a dazzling experience! You truly feel like you are in the middle of a fairytale story in 13th century Italy.