An authentic medieval castle in Calistoga? It sounds like something out of a story. But the Castello di Amorosa is just that. Dario Sattui dreamed of building a structure that could transport visitors to 13th century Tuscany to honor his Italian heritage and offer a truly spectacular experience surrounding the thing his home is most famous for – wine. As a fourth generation winemaker, grandson to Vittorio Sattui, Dario dreamed of reviving the family business and doing so in a way that merged the winery with his passion for medieval architecture.
The History of Castello di Amorosa
After college and some extensive travel in Europe, Dario launched V. Sattui Winery in St. Helena in 1975. While he reestablished the family legacy, he began looking for the perfect place to begin his own project. In 1993, he purchased 171 acres near Calistoga that was home to a landscape unlike anything else in the area. This particular piece of property was the site where Colonel William Nash had planted one of California’s first vineyards in the mid 1800s, so the history was rich.
His vision for pairing wine and architecture came to life on this property. In 1994, construction began on a medieval castle that included 107 rooms, four underground levels, and four above ground levels. Even more surprising than its size, the castle was built using hand-made materials, and the same methods that would have been used in the 13th century.
With over 8,000 tons of hand chiseled local stone, imported European bricks, and 200 containers full of authentic materials and furnishings, Castello di Amorosa is an architectural masterpiece with a matching winery.
Open Access or Private, One of a Kind Tours
If You Prefer to Wander
The Castello di Amorosa is one of the few wineries in Calistoga that doesn’t require a reservation to experience the tours and tastings. You’ll enjoy access to two levels of the winery and five premium wine tasting options. Grab a map and explore, making sure to head out to ground level to the main tasting bar and Knight’s Hall below ground.
However, because of this accessibility, these self guided tours spell crowded weekends and holidays full of tourists. For this reason, when necessary, entry is limited to only those who do reserve their day and time, and to exclusive Wine Club members. As a local of the valley, it’s best to come during off days and times and, of course, to join the Wine Club for everything it offers.
Plan a Tour and Private Tasting
If you prefer to get an in depth look at the winery and castle – and be guaranteed access on some of the most crowded weekends throughout the year – reserve a private tour with a professional wine educator. You’ll receive a 60-minute guided tour of the castle, torture chamber, armory, and grand barrel room. Finish up with a private tasting of all five of the Castello’s premium wines.
Reserved tours include the Diamond Estate Tour with Castello di Amorosa’s flagship Cabernet Sauvignon “Il Barone,” a cheese and wine pairing tour, antipasti and wine pairing, royal food pairing, and the Luxury Tour.
Become a Friend of the Baron
There really are benefits to joining this particular wine club! When you join you’ll become an Amici del Barone. It’s an exclusive membership that enjoys shipping and annual options of award winning Italian-style wines. The club offers special members-only benefits, including complimentary tastings for the member and a guest, discounts on tours, and amazing events.
Additionally, Castello di Amorosa or V. Sattui wine club members have access to stay at Dario Sattui’s 10th century monastery located just outside Sinalunga, Italy. The property is the inspiration behind the Castello and is situated in the hills of Tuscany. Now that is one member benefit you won’t find anywhere else!
Events at the Castello
The Wine Club also offers events all year long and some have become annual affairs you won’t want to miss. From a New Year’s Eve Masquerade Ball to seasonal favorites, there’s something for everyone.
One event most looked forward to is the celebration of the harvest season at Harvest Celebration & Stomp. Create or join a team, or come just to watch as people sink their toes into the grapes and try to produce the most juice. There are demonstrations by the Winemaking Team, a dinner buffet, live band, and, of course, Castello wines.
Travel the World and Across Centuries in Calistoga
Castello di Amorosa is truly a unique setting, unlike anything in the area, and more grand than you could imagine. With many 90+ point wines, a stunning locale, and a team focused on hospitality, this Calistoga castle is great for tourists and locals alike. With events held all year long, there is always a reason to stop by. And many reasons to join the spectacular Wine Club.
One of the many things I love about living in the valley is the abundance of exceptional places to visit and things to do. This is just another example of the ingenuity and extraordinary minds that reside here and how they share their gifts with our community. And I love sharing their masterpieces with others!