Castello di Amorosa
|Castello di Amorosa|
|Location||Calistoga, California, USA|
|Key people||Dario Sattui|
|Known for||Il Barone Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon|
|Varietals||Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese, Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Pinot grigio, Pinot bianco, Muscato, Gioia- Rosato di Sangiovese, Merlot, La Fantasia|
|Tasting||Open to the public|
Castello di Amorosa is a castle and a winery located near Calistoga, California. First opening its doors to the public in April 2007, the castle is the pet project of 4th generation vintner, Dario Sattui, who also owns and operates the V. Sattui Winery named after his great-grandfather, Vittorio Sattui, who originally established a winery in San Francisco in 1885 after emigrating from Italy to California.
The winery sits on property that was once part of an estate owned by Edward Turner Bale. In 1993, Sattui purchased the 171 acres on which the castle lies for $3.1 million, then spent another $40 million to construct the castle, outbuildings, and the winery inside the castle; construction work began in 1995.
After graduating with a MBA from the University of California, Berkeley in 1969, Dario Sattui spent 2 years traveling around Europe in an old VW van, during which time he developed an interest in medieval architecture. He took photos and made sketches of various buildings he would visit including medieval castles, monasteries, palaces, farmhouses and wineries.
The castle interiors, which include 107 rooms on 8 levels above and below ground, were approximately 121,000 square feet (11,200 m2) when opened in 2007; it has since been expanded to 141,000 square feet.
Key details and building techniques are architecturally faithful to the 12th and 13th century time period. Among many other features, it includes a moat; a drawbridge, defensive towers, an interior courtyard, a torture chamber, a chapel/church, a knights' chamber, and a 72 by 30 feet (9.1 m) great hall with a 22-foot (6.7 m)-high coffered ceiling.
The torture chamber has an iron maiden said to be from the late Renaissance, which Sattui states he bought for $13,000 in Pienza, Italy; a replica rack; and other torture devices. The great hall features frescoes painted by two Italian artists, who took about a year and a half to complete, and showcases a 500-year-old fireplace.
The masonry, ironwork, and woodwork were fashioned by hand using old world crafting techniques. Building materials included 8,000 tons of locally quarried stone, paving stones, terra cotta roofing tiles, and 850,000 bricks imported from Europe. Extending into the hillside adjacent to the castle is a labyrinth of caves some 900 feet (270 m) in length. Beneath the castle are a 2-acre (8,100 m2) barrel cellar and tasting rooms where visitors can sample the wines, all sold only at the Castle or thorough the winery's wine club.
Due to Napa County restrictions, the castle and grounds cannot be rented for weddings or receptions, but are available to rent for corporate gatherings and fund raisers. In May 2012 the county ordered the winery to cease holding a weekly Catholic Mass in the chapel located on the grounds due to lack of use permits.
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- Scully, Shane (May 23, 2012). "County orders Sattui's 'Castle' to stop church services". The Weekly Calistogan. Calistoga, CA: Lee Enterprises. Retrieved May 29, 2012.