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Media Contact: Michala Jeberg
Castello di Amorosa
707-967-6278 – Email:
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History of Castello di Amorosa

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Mike Thompson video

For Immediate Release

Landmark Calistoga winery hosted day of special events

Calistoga, Calif. (April 2017) – Castello di Amorosa turned 10 years old on April 6 with a busy day of festivities. To start the day, Founder/Proprietor Dario Sattui welcomed a crowd of 75 people, addressing them in the winery’s courtyard, reviewing how he came to build the winery, a labor of love which took fifteen years.

The attendees included media, local politicians and VIPs. “From the first day we opened, when I stood at the drawbridge and didn’t know if anyone would come, to today, when we are one of the Napa Valley’s most popular wineries, it’s been a wonderful adventure,” Dario Sattui said.

For the first hour, guests mingled in the courtyard, stopping at displays for the artisans who built the winery, who came from Italy and Austria for the festivities. They included:

  • Paulo Ardito, construction manager, who showed plans and drawings used in the construction, and Jon Lail, the Napa Valley-based architect involved in the construction
  • Fabio Sanzogni, painter, who created the frescoes in the winery’s Great Hall and created a tenth anniversary commemorative painting during the event, while guests watched
  • Giorgio Mariani, a blacksmith from Umbria, Italy, who made the kind of ironwork accents he created for the castle over an open flame in front of guests
  • Carlos Perez, stonemason, who demonstrated the techniques used for carving the stonework accents used in building the castle
  • Fritz Gruber, brick artisan from Austria, displayed the brickwork techniques used in constructing the castle’s vaults.

Guests then descended into the winery’s Grand Barrel Room, being welcomed by a local opera troupe as they were seated for a ten-year retrospective tasting of Il Barone, the winery’s flagship wine. The tasting was moderated by author, journalist and wine educator Karen MacNeil.

Director of Winemaking Brooks Painter and Winemaker Peter Velleno contributed comments during the tasting of the wines, vintages 2003 – 2012, explaining their philosophy behind Il Barone and noting how vintage years and the vineyard sites contributed to the flavor profiles of each wine.

"It was an enormous pleasure to lead the vertical tasting of a decade of Il Barone," said Karen MacNeil, wine expert and author of The Wine Bible. "Il Barone--the Castello di Amorosa's flagship wine--is a dark, captivating example of Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon. Seeing how the first ten vintages have evolved was fascinating.”

After the tasting guests returned upstairs to the lavishly frescoed Great Hall, where opera singers again welcomed them as they were seated for the luncheon.

Michelin-star chef Stefano Masanti traveled from his restaurant in the Italian Alps to prepare the elaborate luncheon, which began with a carpaccio of branzino, followed by a truffle-topped hand-made ravioli course, loin of beef and a picturesque dessert of zabaglione (made with Castello di Amorosa’s Moscato) with berries and gelato.

Presentations at the lunch consisted of Dario Sattui’s introduction of his new book, Castello di Amorosa: A Labor of Love, a video tribute from Congressman Mike Thompson and a commemorative plaque presented to Sattui from the office of State Senator Bill Dodd.



Castello di Amorosa: A Labor of Love, is a 234-page lavishly illustrated history of how Castello di Amorosa was created, written by Dario Sattui with a foreword by Francis Ford Coppola and photographs by Peter Menzel. The book is available for $39.90 at the winery and the winery website. The book covers the years of research in Italy which Dario undertook before beginning the construction as well as the construction itself and the Castello as it is today, from the state-of-the-art winery within its walls to the extensive tastings and special events which have made it one of California’s most popular places to visit. “Bravo is all I can say---that someone could have a dream and, against all odds, realize it and also make it pay. Do we not all have castles in our dreams,” notes Francis Ford Coppola in his foreword.

Building the winery was a fifteen year labor of love for Dario Sattui.  The authentically built castle/winery used materials such as antique bricks and roof tiles, hand-hewn timbers and doors, hand-forged iron gates, lamps and hardware and medieval construction techniques and over 8,000 tons of hand-chiseled local stone to create this architectural gem. 

The winery itself is a modern contrast to the Castello. It contains the most advanced crushing and fermentation facilities, four underground levels and 24,000 square feet of caves for barrel aging.

Among many accolades, the winery has been recognized as one of “Napa’s Most Beautiful Wine Tasting Rooms” by Food & Wine Magazine, as “Best Wine Tasting Room” by North Bay Bohemian, as “Best Place to take visitors” by KVON Radio, as one of the “Top 5 Romantic Spots in the Napa Valley” by Napa Valley Life Magazine and as one of “The Ten Most Intriguing Architectural Wineries in Napa” by Napa Valley Life Magazine, in addition to receiving Certificates of Excellence from Trip Advisor for the last three years.

Castello di Amorosa owns a total of 83 acres of estate vineyards in Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino counties.   It sells its entire production of wine exclusively at the winery and on its website.

Castello di Amorosa is open seven days a week from 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. March-October and 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. November-February. A variety of wine tasting and winery tour options are available including the popular Food and Wine Pairing Tour.  Reservations---for tours only---are recommended by contacting

 Stefano Masanti is a Michelin-star chef and the founder of one of northern Italy’s most beloved restaurants, Il Cantinone ( ), located in the small ski resort of Madesimo, in the Italian Alps. Stefano grew up in this Lombardian resort town, where he recalls his first day in the kitchen, at just 5 years old, helping his grandfather churn vanilla gelato for the family business, Hotel Andossi. He received his B.A. degree in hospitality at the Hotel Institute Crotto Caurga Chiavenna; he also studied at France’s Ecole Lenotre, Alain Ducasse’s culinary school, Ducasse Education, and the culinary institute in Brescia, Italy. An accomplished master of charcuterie, Masanti was named “Craftsman of the Year” in all of Italy by the 2009 Identità Golose for best Valchiavenna bresaola. One of the earliest proponents of the Slow Food movement, Chef Masanti believes in the value of preserving and protecting regional food traditions from around the world.


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