If you’ve never been to the Castello di Amorosa in Napa Valley, I highly recommend it. Napa already has a feel of visiting a foreign land and the Castello steps it up even more with a castle in the style of 13th-century Tuscan castles.
Built by Dario Sattui, a fourth generation winemaker, the castle boasts a hundred and seven rooms – ninety of which are devoted to wine. It cost $40 million to construct with the help of master builders from five different countries and took over ten years!
The Castle Experience
The castle is stunning! I expected a tourist trap but was impressed with the attention to detail and how beautiful every aspect of the architecture was. Yes, you could still call it a tourist trap – it’s a big tourist attraction but it’s so neat! General admission will get you a tasting and license to roam the grounds and two floors.
Every room is designed beautifully. The starkness of the stone is brought to life with pops of color in murals, tapestries and painted walls. We visited in the late fall and they were gearing up for Christmas at the winery. Everything was draped in garlands and candles – well, not the torture chamber. The dungeon and torture chamber has an authentic iron maiden as well as other replicas of torture devices.
Taking the Tour
We purchased the tour which included the tasting, roaming rights and a tour into grand barrel cellar for a barrel tasting and a peek into the torture chamber. Bring comfortable shoes because you’ll be standing and walking for almost two hours. The tour was a slight increase in price from general admission, but was totally worth it.
Planning Your Trip to Napa and the Castello di Amorosa
If possible, plan your visit to the castle on a weekday. Weekends can get busy and the winery can limit guests to their premier members. We visited in the late fall and the weather was lovely. There was a crispness to the air, the vines were changing color and there were fewer people. Remember to bring a jacket if you get cold easily because the cellar will be colder than outside.