Rising above the hills in the Napa Valley is Castello di Amorosa, which translates to the “castle of love” in Italian. Castello di Amorosa, an authentically-styled, 13th century Tuscan castle winery complete with high walls and five defensive towers and over 30 acres of estate vineyards. It was built over a 14-year period by Dario Sattui, a fourth generation winemaker and owner of V. Sattui Winery in St. Helena, California.
The Wall Street Journal cited Castello di Amorosa as a “must-see destination,” and more recently, the Contra Costa Times included Castello di Amorosa as one of the top destination wineries in the country.
After decades of research, planning and studying medieval castles in Italy and Europe, Sattui commenced building in 1994. The Castello evolved to include 121,000 square feet, 107 rooms, (of which 95 are used for winemaking or wine storage) 8,000 tons of hand-squared stone, 8 levels (4 above ground, 4 below) 900 linear feet of caves, a great hall with two-story Italian frescoes, defensive fortifications, ramparts, a drawbridge and a moat. Reminiscent of old world castles, the Castello also has a dungeon and torture chamber, secret passage ways, courtyards, loggias, a church and stables. Even an outdoor oven for making breads. Finally, at 12,000 square feet, the wine barrel room is, perhaps, the single most impressive barrel room in the U.S. and is constructed with ancient Roman cross-vaulted ceilings.
The Castello, however, is merely a backdrop to showcase some of the Napa Valley’s best wines. The vineyards surrounding the Castello are planted with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Primitivo and Sangiovese grapes which produce low yields and intensely flavored wines. The internationally acclaimed wines are primarily Italian varieties that pair well with foods from around the world. Currently producing 18,000 cases per year, the Castello’s wines are sold only at the winery, directly to the consumer. Guided tours, food and wine pairings, blending seminars and horse drawn vineyard tour which include a private tasting are available by appointment and wine tasting needs no appointment.
Castello di Amorosa is located at 4045 Highway 29, just 5.5 miles north of St. Helena on the left.