After a wonderful lunch at Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen, the #Trafalgar2012 group headed to another surprising spot, one that I was completely unaware of. Located in Calistoga, the Castello di Amorosa is more than a winery, it is Disneyland for anyone who loves medieval Italian history! Think that sounds boring? You’d be so wrong! I absolutely could not take in everything, I wanted to take photos from every corner and will definitely be heading back.
Not only that, but it is an awesome spot for families, seriously. There is a farm full of wonderful animals as you approach the main entrance, lots of fun places to climb and run, children’s activities and tastings that are age appropriate. I don’t have kids but I really appreciated that there was at least options for those couples who do come to the wine country with kids.
So what exactly is Castello di Amorosa? It’s an adventure, an architectural adventure based on fourth generation winemaker Dario Sattui’s passion for medieval history. He spent 14 years constructing the replica of a 13th-century stone castle on 171-acres and every piece of it is authentic. There are touches everywhere and I couldn’t capture enough with my camera.
We were taken on a tour of the property which included the main hall with huge murals and a 500-year old fireplace. The room is used for large events as well as for films, which won’t surprise you when you see how beautiful it is.
There is also a chapel and courtyard we were taken through and parts of the wine-making facility as well. But then we went underground where we were led through tunnels lined with oak wine barrels and rooms with secret wine stashes. I am certain that people get lost every day, it might be years before they are found as there are 107 rooms on eight floors!
Our journey below included stops to a completely authentic armory and torture chamber (might be fun to taunt children with some of the apparatuses!) but I was completely blown away by this room which is one part storage and one part wine tasting area. The architecture is magnificent, especially when you consider it is underground and the soft light that glows here is sublime.
When we resurfaced back to the main hall we were surprised by the main hall table that had been set for us to do some of our own tasting.
They have some lovely offerings. Considering that Mr. Sattui’s family has multiple properties throughout the region and that they have been producing wine for several generations, I wasn’t surprised. What I was surprised by was that I actually had fun spending time in the castle, a word I rarely associate with wine-tasting in Napa Valley. It just goes back to the care that the Trafalgar team puts into every details of the locales they choose for their guided holidays, I was definitely impressed.
Disclosure: I was a guest of Trafalgar for a tour in San Francisco and Napa. I was not required to write this post, nor am I being compensated for doing so. All opinions are 100% my own.