This January, Castello President Georg Salzner and Winemaker Peter Velleno planted our first cork tree. Native to southwestern Europe, the Quercus suber cork oak tree can grow up to 100 feet tall, and is sure to thrive in the Mediterranean climate we enjoy here in Napa Valley.
Wine Corks are made from the bark of the cork tree, which needs to be stripped and peeled off by hand. Cork trees are typically harvested every seven years, and are a renewable resource since the tree is not cut down and only the outer layer of bark is removed. It takes a cork tree 25 years to reach maturity before its bark can be harvested, and we are looking forward to our first Castello cork harvest in 2042!
Ridesharing: Castello Style
Dario Sattui (with the Cal Bears football helmet) and his team are serious about ridesharing. His Citroen 2CV which was originally designed to hold 2 farmers and haul 50 kilos of potatoes at 30 mph has been selected as the rideshare vehicle of choice for his enthusiastic employees.
CASTELLO DI AMOROSA OFFERS RIDE-SHARING FOR EMPLOYEES
Biggest program in Napa Valley
Frustrated with traffic in the Napa Valley? Wondering if any wineries are doing anything about it? Castello di Amorosa launched a ride sharing program in August and has seen the program succeed beyond expectations. The castle wishes to be part of the solution.
Approximately 30 castle employees have taken advantage of this program and are carpooling, cycling, walking or taking the bus to work. In this program drivers and passengers are incentivized with cash payments by the winery of $5 per round trip per passenger if there is less than a 15 mile commute and $10 per round trip per passenger for distances greater than 15 miles. The winery is proud to be reducing traffic generated by its employees on Napa County roads.
“We are delighted to be doing our part in cutting down on traffic and pollution,” says winery founder Dario Sattui. “We may be the only winery offering a financial incentive to our employees to ride to work together,” he continued. “We see this program growing at a great pace in the near future, and we’re honored to be a leader in our community to make this a worthwhile project both for our employees, local citizens and ‘Mother Nature,’” he added.
Napa County has studied local traffic patterns over the last several years and, in broad terms, has determined that most of the traffic is caused by people who work here but live somewhere else. “There are many factors---such as the lack of affordable housing---which cause the traffic which we all are noticing,” Sattui adds. “If other wineries follow our lead and incentivize their employees to share their rides and take public transportation, we may be able to see a difference in a relatively short period of time,” he continues.
In the County’s study (http://www.nvta.ca.gov/travel-behavior-study), tourists accounted for only 21% of the County’s traffic. The study estimated that 9% of all traffic is just passing through the County.
Castello di Amorosa will be celebrating its tenth anniversary in 2017. Building the winery was a fifteen year labor of love for Dario Sattui. The authentically built castle/winery used European artisans and 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 create this architectural gem.
The winery itself is a modern contrast to the castle. It contains the most advanced crushing and fermentation facilities, four underground levels and 24,000 square feet of caves for barrel aging.
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.
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. Guests can come only to taste or can take a guided tour followed by tasting. Reservations---for tours only---are recommended.
Expedia Viewfinder teamed up with Castello di Amorosa to reveal what about the winery makes it a royal experience.
Napa Valley, California, is an iconic destination perfect for those who want to learn about wine, sip rare vintages, and visit more than 400 wineries located in the area. Although there are plenty of choices for wine connoisseurs, only one will make visitors feel like royalty: Castello di Amorosa.
At Expedia Viewfinder we wanted to discover what makes this winery so regal, so we turned to our friends at Castello di Amorosa. Together we reveal why this is a must-visit winery in Napa:
The property on which Castello di Amorosa stands was purchased more than two decades ago by Dario Sattui, who came from a winemaking family. With Sattui’s passion for medieval architecture and knowledge of Italian design, the idea to recreate a castle in California was born. Castello di Amorosa was constructed to emulate the authentic 13th-century Tuscan castles owned by Italy’s elite. Every element of design and furnishing was chosen so that visitors can experience the majestic nature of an Italian fortress.
The castle is certainly part of this winery’s allure. However, oenophiles know that the vineyards are the most superb feature of all. More than 30 acres are devoted to growing merlot, sangiovese, and primitivo grapes, but the cabernet sauvignon grapes are the vineyard’s pride and joy. Castello di Amorosa embraces the concept of “terrior,” which is a French term used to describe the perfect blend of warm climate, sunshine, rich soil, and ideal location.
For more than 100 years, Napa Valley has been recognized as a prime spot to grow California grapes that blossom to perfection. The soil is made up of a diverse array of coastal rock and eroded seafloor from the Pacific Ocean, resulting in rich nutrients that give the grapes their divine flavor. During a visit to Castello di Amorosa, tour the vineyard to see these grapes on the vine or witness the harvest.
The Royal Food & Wine Pairing Tour
The crown jewel of any visit to Castello di Amorosa is the Royal Wine and Food Pairing. It’s truly a luxurious experience that broadens guests’ knowledge of local wines, while simultaneously letting them nosh on delicious bites. After a tour of the stately property, Mary Davidek, an expert sommelier, explains what makes each wine special and describes its perfect match.
Samples of the food and wine pairing menu include a 2012 reserve chardonnay served with a tomato and butternut squash soup, a 2011 sangiovese with chicken and fennel meatballs, and a 2011 La Castellana reserve blend accompanied by Cotswold cheeses and a homemade baguette.
On your next trip to Napa Valley, tap into your royal side and toast the sweet stuff at the grand Castello di Amorosa. Marvel at the sumptuous architecture, tour the pristine grape vines, and sip on the sublime vino.
Written by Expedia Staff Writer
With over 500 wineries here in beautiful Napa Valley, we are honored to have been chosen by FlipKey as one of the top Napa Valley Wineries worth traveling for! Congratulations to the other fantastic wineries who have also made this list, and we hope to see you soon in this world famous wine growing region!
Recently, Joe and Matt of Thumbs Up Wine paid a visit to the Castello, and had a blast making this fantastic video. It's THE CASTLE!
Matt and Joe from Thumbs Up Wine
"If you're coming to the Napa Valley either for a day or for a week, there are certain things you have to see. We call them the Seven Wonders of the World, and this is one of them: THE CASTLE!" - Joe, Thumbs Up Wine
Toasting our Il Barone with Dario
The Thumbs Up Crew with Dario
Thank you Matt and Joe for such a great review of the Castello! We're looking forward to your next visit!
LUPO GOES TO EUROPE
My long-haired German Shepard Lupo is famous for being the Castle winery dog. Whenever I am at the Castle, Lupo, my best friend, is there at my side. He has become popular and well known to our customers. He has even become somewhat famous gracing the cover or interior of several winery dog books. And yes, his name means ‘wolf’ in Italian.
As I ease into semi-retirement, I travel to Italy for more prolonged periods to stay at my monastery, now finally refurbished after 3 years and 6 months of restoration. For years I had made promises to myself to bring Lupo to Europe with me, as he and I suffer greatly when we are apart for extended periods. For weeks after I would depart he would go to the Castle searching for me, hanging out at my car, not eating---hoping I would arrive. Hearing this always saddened me.
This past April, I decided to go to Europe for 12 weeks. I just had to bring Lupo irrespective of cost or trouble. It wasn’t easy. Many airlines didn’t want dogs at all. Others would only take smaller dogs. Lupo weighs 122 pounds. Other airlines that would take a large dog didn’t fly where I wanted to go. I kept hearing no at every turn. Finally, I found an agency that could do it for about $4,000. As a last resort I was willing to pay the money, but I kept researching until a godsend happened. That godsend was LUFTHANSA. They agreed to take him and even walk and water him in Frankfurt, the stopover. And the cost was only $400 each way plus the cage. Not only does Lufthansa give great service to passengers, they really treat animals well.
But still I wasn’t sure. Friends said 11 year old Lupo might die on the long, 15 hour flight and layover. Others said he would suffer greatly, and I shouldn’t do it. Then there was all the paperwork with the vet, the state of California, the vaccinations, etc. But the vet assured me it could be done safely. And since Lupo sleeps most of the time anyway, could lie down, stand up and turn around in his cage (also equipped with lots of water) I decided to do it. I wish I could lie down on a flight.
I had to fly to Rome instead of my usual destination, Florence, as a bigger plane was needed, but it worked. Upon disembarking in Rome, I nervously looked for Lupo. As soon as he saw me he howled with delight. I promptly let him out of his cage, and he did an extraordinary thing. He christened Leonardo Di Vinci Airport by pooping in 5 different spots on the polished marble floors – which I had to clean up, but Lupo was healthy and happy, and we happily drove off to the monastery.
In Europe, I took Lupo everywhere with me, traveling through much of Italy, Germany and Austria. We hung out together every day, and he slept near me at night. I used to allow him to sleep in bed with me sometimes when he was younger and smaller. He was allowed into all restaurants and hotels with me. Nobody refused him. He was even offered meat and bones at restaurants. Europeans have a different mentality about animals. He was a good---and pampered---watchdog at the monastery as well.
Lupo and I had a great time together. He is one of the most well traveled dogs I know. I do wish he had studied Italian harder to communicate with that country’s dogs better. And thankfully he didn’t soil the San Francisco airport on our return, probably out of respect for American soil. I vow now that every time I go to Europe for a month or more my best friend Lupo will be with me.
Castello di Amorosa's "Capture the Flavor" video contest on our Facebook page is in full swing. One of the recent entries can be viewed by clicking:
Peter Velleno Promoted to Associate Winemaker at Castello di Amorosa
Castello di Amorosa, Dario Sattui’s authentically-styled 13th century Tuscan castle and winery in Calistoga, is pleased to announce that Peter Velleno has been promoted to Associate Winemaker from Assistant Winemaker. He will have overall responsibility for crafting all wines in collaboration with Brooks Painter, Director of Winemaking.
”Pete has shown himself to be a skillful and creative Winemaker who excels in managing our wine quality and Production Team” said Painter. “His background in technical winemaking is matched both by his talents as an artistic blender and his determination as a manager to seek out the best wines we can possibly produce.”
Before joining Castello di Amorosa in 2008, Velleno worked at William Hill Winery as Assistant Winemaker.
“We are very pleased with the direction of our winemaking,” said Castello di Amorosa President, Georg Salzner. “Peter’s focus is on crafting wine of exceptional quality, balance and style that truly reflects the terrior of the Napa Valley.”
Velleno holds a B.S. in Fermentation Science from the University of California, Davis. He was born and raised in San Francisco where he and his two older brothers were the fifth generation of their family to the born in the city. Today, Velleno, his wife, Lauren and their daughter make their home in Napa where they enjoy playing tennis, biking, cooking and spending time in the Napa Valley.
Following fourteen years of construction, Sattui opened Castello di Amorosa on April 9, 2007. Situated in the hills above Calistoga, Castello di Amorosa- a family-owned business- produces world-class wines which are sold only at the winery direct to the consumer. The castle winery was made with brick, wood and iron imported from Europe and combined with over 8,000 tons of local, Napa Valley stone. Today, Castello di Amorosa, a popular Napa Valley destination, offers a variety of wine tasting and touring options in a unique Tuscan castle setting.
Castello di Amorosa Promotes Jim Sullivan to Vice President, Public Relations and Marketing
Jim Sullivan has been promoted to Vice President, Public Relations and Marketing at Castello di Amorosa, Dario Sattui’s authentically-styled 13th century Tuscan castle and winery. Sullivan will spearhead the Castello’s publicity and marketing initiatives. He will report directly to Georg Salzner, President of Castello di Amorosa.
“I’m proud to congratulate Jim on his promotion to this new position and look forward to his continued professional growth in the wine industry,” said Georg Salzner, president of Castello di Amorosa. “He is an asset to our winery, and I know he will continue to provide exemplary leadership for our organization.”
With over 20 years of marketing, public relations and business development experience with professional motorsports teams and in a variety of healthcare organizations in Southern California, Sullivan first joined Castello di Amorosa in 2008 as Public Relations and Marketing Manager.
Sullivan holds an MBA from the University of Redlands and a Bachelor of Science from Central Washington University.
He resides in St. Helena, Calif.