Glass Fire Part II

Jim Sullivan

November 6th, 2020

The Clean Up Is Complete

After 1,800 hours of work, the Farmhouse that was burned in the Napa Valley Glass Fire is clean and ready for rebuilding- a 2-to-3-year process- that will utilize same painstaking process that led to the building of Castello di Amorosa, also know as the Napa Castle

Dario hired Zucco Structural Engineers of Santa Rosa to evaluate the existing 10-inch cement walls that are faced with stone and bricks. Zucco were the engineers that produced the original structural plans for the Farmhouse. We are hopeful that the structural report confirms that the walls were not damaged to the extent that they will need to be razed.

Once we have confirmation, we will need to obtain a permit from Napa County to rebuild. We will need thousands of handmade, antique roof tiles, bricks, doors, and metal work from Italy as well as timbers. Artisans from Europe will need to come to Castello to perform the work, to recreate the Farmhouse exactly as it was before the Glass Fire.

In rebuilding the Farmhouse, Dario will reaffirm the two of the original guiding principles used in the building of the Castello. First, the building will be rebuilt authentically. Second, it will be authentic which means it will take time. The rebuilt Farmhouse will not be a contemporary building that mimicked the medieval style. As he would say, you cannot build an “old structure” using modern techniques and tools and it cannot be fake! So, like the Castle itself, you will see hand-shaped bricks, stone, roof tiles and wood used as the building materials.

Fritz Gruber, a master builder, who furnished most of the bricks from Austria will be called on once again in the Farmhouse rebuilding project.

Fritz Gruber

Much of the stone will be sourced locally and worked by masons familiar with old stonecutting techniques. The roof tiles are hand made by artisans in Europe.

Castle Roof Tiles

The ironwork including the light fixtures, hinges, locks will all need to be fabricated by Giorgio Mariani, a blacksmith who Dario met in Assisi in 1998, and his son who reside in Umbria, Italy. These talented artisans created the wood doors and window surrounds for the Castle and we will ask for their help, once again, in the Farmhouse project.

Castle Door

It is likely that the former construction manager of the Castle project, Paulo Ardito will return for the Farmhouse Project. It was Paolo who built the Gatehouse, a tractor barn and office/storage building that is left of the main gate in 2014.

dario on drawbridge

Stay tuned to this blog for the next update. If you have not already done so, please sign up for our newsletter (Hyperlink) to stay up to date with all the latest from the Castello.


Glass Fire Part I

Read Part 1 of our Glass Fire Blog, featuring a message from Dario Sattui.

Read Part 1


Grape Juice Trio

Best Grape Juice in Napa Valley

Bradley Aden

October 24th, 2020

The Freshest Napa Winery Grape Juice of Them All

Few wineries in Napa Valley are committed to making a natural grape juice. Our grape juice was made in much the same way as our wine. We harvest a few days early to provide a base of acidity. The clusters are hand-harvested, delivered to the crush pad where they are destemmed, pressed and then the juice is chilled to about 32. “The big difference is we don’t add yeast to convert the grape sugars to alcohol. We skip that step and the result is a great alternative to wine which has surprising age-ability.” Our juices are known for their pure grape flavor and aromatic profiles. This non-alcoholic grape juice is a special addition to your cellar, nature’s true nectar, artfully crafted and delicious for years to come. Stock-up today!

Not Your Supermarket Grape Juice

Can be added with mineral water, sparkling Pellegrino or spring water. Our non-alcoholic grape juices can be consumed on their own as a delicious juice beverage—or add your favorite spirit (gin or vodka) for a fruity, sweet cocktail! It is bottled in a traditional wine bottle with a twist top, for easy reuse. Refrigerate after opening; juice typically remains delicious for several weeks.

Great Alternative for All Ages

These non-alcoholic grape juices are great alternatives for several occasions. Drinking grape juice supplies the resveratrol and polyphenols (anthocyanins) that the body needs. A great alternative for:

– Children

– Expecting Mothers

– Non-Alcoholic Choice

Our Winemaker Brooks Painter

Castello di Amorosa’s head winemaker Brooks Painter’s career spans more than 40 years. During that time, he’s made hundreds of wines, but making grape juice strikes a special chord, “I have a passion for making grape juice that uses the same grapes that go into our wines,” explained Painter. “The making of a quality grape juice that truly expresses the fruit and flavor of the grape is a challenge, but when the result is a product that is true to the varietal aromas and flavors, I’m happy!” “My challenge,” said Painter, “was to make a grape juice from the same grape that was sensitive of the varietal with its flowery fruit and attractive flavors. It’s intensely aromatic, just like the wine.”

Muscat Canelli Grape Juice

A sweet non-alcoholic treat.  Made from 100% Muscat Canelli wine grapes. These grapes make a more flavorful aromatic white grape juice naturally. Our grape juice is made only from fresh, premium-quality Muscat Canelli wine grapes. This is the way real grape juice tastes, superior in aroma, flavor, and health benefits in every respect. Nothing has been added except sulfites to protect the natural aroma and flavors. You won’t find juice of this quality in your local supermarket. Get it while supplies last.

Lucas & Lewellan Vineyard

Harvest Date: 9/6/ to 9/10/18

Bottling Date: 2/1/19

Alcohol %: Zero

Titratable Acidity: 6.6 g/L

pH: 3.31

Red Blend Sparkling Grape Juice

A sparkling and sweet non-alcoholic juice made from a blend of red wine grapes, with a pleasant spritziness that adds an invigorating twist to this delicate premium grape juice. Our sparkling grape juice is made only from fresh, premium-quality grapes, which include 90% Gamay, 5% Grenache, and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon grape varietals. You read that correctly, there is Cabernet Sauvignon in this grape juice. Nothing has been added except sulfites to protect the natural aroma and flavors.

Tamayo Vineyard

Harvest Date: 9/6/18

Bottling Date: 2/1/19

Alcohol %: Zero

Titratable Acidity: 6.6 g/L

pH: 3.33

Gewurztraminer Grape Juice

Our newest addition to the grape juice family will be available for purchase on April 1, 2021. The Gewurztraminer will be the same grapes used from our Anderson Valley Estate Vineyard. Our Gewurztraminer juice provides an elegant alternative that is less sweet than our other offerings.

Anderson Valley Vineyard

Harvest Date: 9/6/20

Bottling Date: 2/1/21

Alcohol %: Zero

President Georg Salzner Samples Vintage Grape Juice



Credit AP Noah Berger

Glass Fire

Dario Sattui

October 20th, 2020

Credit Noah Berger

Glass Fire Update

We have received an outpouring of love and support from our community and members, for which we are so grateful. In the midst of this challenging time, the team at Castello di Amorosa wishes to share with you a message of hope, fortitude, and resilience. While it is true that we have been affected by the fires, losing our Farmhouse building and scorched land surrounding the castle, we are grateful that our main castle building which spans 121,000 square feet has been left unscathed.  We owe this to the hard work of the police, first responders, and firefighters that have continuously dedicated their efforts to saving our beautiful property.  After seeing the flames, Dario’s first instinct was to save all of the animals at the castle, including the pigs, goats, sheep, emus, peacocks and chickens.

Looking to the future, it is time for us to come together as a community and to support one another. Wine country is strong, courageous and resourceful and we will get through this challenging time together and more unified than ever before. The incident has been heart-wrenching and devastating for the Castello di Amorosa Team, but through the tumult, our team and the spirit of Dario’s Labor of Love persisted.

– Castello di Amorosa Team

A Letter from Dario Sattui

Dear Friends & Family,

I spent nearly 15 years of my life designing and building the castle, which besides my wife Irina, is the second love of my life. I never thought the stone and brick fortress would be affected by fire. Unfortunately, in the early morning hours of September 28th, Castello di Amorosa sustained significant fire damage to the Farmhouse building, a separate 15,000 square foot building across the crush pad about 50 yards from the castle itself. The Farmhouse was completely destroyed. The beautiful castle itself and underground cellars which comprise approximately another 121,000 sq. ft. were not harmed by the fire.

 

Flaming embers landed in the grass near Highway 29 creating a massive fire that ripped up the hill to the Farmhouse before I knew it. My first response was to let our farm animals out of their pens, and then I raced to find a fire truck which responded quickly, but it was just too large a fire to handle. Fortunately, most of our wine inventory is stored in the castle and in our off-site warehouse and is in great condition.

Glass Fire

The Farmhouse contained about 120,000 bottles of wine with a retail value of approximately $5 million, a bottling line, a portion of the wine from the 2020 vintage and offices and a laboratory above. The castle itself was unaffected by the fire. I estimate that repairing this craftsman building and re-equipping it will cost approximately $10-12 million and take 2-3 years as most of the antique materials must come from Europe. The estimated total loss is approximately $15-20 million.

 

I really appreciate your heart-felt support during this difficult time. Your calls, emails and wine orders are very much appreciated. I am thankful for your support of the castle and honored that you continue to purchase and enjoy our wine which will help sustain the castle during this horrible time.

Glass Fire - La Times Photo Credit

I am thankful that no one was injured and want you to know that we are strong and resilient, and we will overcome this tragedy. Our hearts go out to our friends and neighbors, some of whom have suffered great losses. We are forever grateful for the hard work and dedication of the brave fire fighters and the first responders. 

 

We are already hard at work repairing systems and getting back on our feet.We expect to resume shipping your wine orders by the end of the week and to reopen the castle within a week for wine tasting.

 

I am looking forward to putting this disaster behind us and hosting you again at the castle soon. 

 

I wish you and your family all the best.


Glass Fire

Farmhouse Update

No one ever thought the 2020 Glass fire of September 28 which started on the east side of the Napa Valley near Crystal Springs road would ever make it to the east side of the valley. But the unthinkable quickly became reality at the hands of the fierce, 40 mph winds that fateful evening.

Castello’s Warehouse Manager, Francisco Campos forklift was destroyed in the Glass Fire

Dario Sattui was worried. He was up at 1:00 a.m. to assess the conditions. He drove to the Napa River and found the fire just 50 yards east of the Napa River, which was only 350 yards from the Castle. He noticed that the fire had consumed the entire field, but it appeared to extinguish itself as there was no more fuel to feed the flames. The fire department put out most, but not all, the remaining spot fires. Dario believed the spot fires coming to a 12-foot-wide gravel road would die out but was concerned about the high winds that evening.

He reasoned there was no way the fire could reach the Napa River, let alone cross it. Certainly, it was impossible the fire could cross the main highway 45 feet wide, so he went to sleep at 2 a.m. At 3:45 a.m., a neighbor woke him to say the fire was on the Castle’s side on the highway. He did not entirely believe her, but quickly dressed and drove up the highway. Sure enough, the fire was on the Castle side of the road and in an instant, it roared up the gully into the backside of the Castle’s beloved Farmhouse causing major damage

Some of Castello di Amorosa’s most precious wine was stored in the Farmhouse. In total, over 110,000 bottles of wine were destroyed including some of the Crown Jewel Collection of Il Barone, La Castellana and single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon’s from Don Thomas Vineyard in Rutherford, Morisoli-Borges Vineyard in Rutherford, Melanson Vineyard on Pritchard Hill and Castello’s Super Tuscan Blend, Sinalunga named for a small commune near Siena, Italy which inspired Dario to build the Castello.


Glass Fire Part II

Read Part 2 of our Glass Fire Blog, with an update from the Castle.

Read More

Wax Bottle Seal

Bradley Aden

September 24th, 2020

Wax Seal Logo

Wax Wine Bottle Seal

A wax sealed bottle is a beautiful addition to your wine rack, but can be intimidating when it comes time to open it. This is easier than you may think! Simply plunge your corkscrew through the wax, as if it were not even there. Lift the cork slightly and wipe any wax crumbles from the opening. Pull the cork the rest of the way out and enjoy!

How To Properly Open A Wax-Sealed Bottle of Wine

Why Dip Our Bottles?

Wax provides a secure seal and barrier, far superior to a regular bottle wrap. Wax wine bottle seals also help customers distinguish between our regular wines and our reserve wines.

What Bottles Get Dipped?

We dip all our reserve wines in wax. This includes all single-vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon as well as our signature Cabernet, Il Barone. We also dip our single-vineyard Pinot Noir’s and our Super Tuscan Blend, La Castellana. We do dip wines other than reds such as Rosato, Il Passito, and Reserve Chardonnay.



Rutherford Vineyard AVA

Manley Vineyards

Bradley Aden

September 9th, 2020

Rutherford Vineyard AVA

Manley Vineyards – The Newest Castello Addition

On the corner of Manley Lane & Highway 29 in Rutherford is Castello’s newest estate vineyard located in the Rutherford AVA. Home of unique terrior and home to some of the Napa Valley’s most historic and world-reknown wines. Manley Vineyards is part of the Rutherford AVA and is known for its exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon wine. The vineyard gives us a chance to continue our tradition of producing fine Napa Valley Cabernet’s.

The vineyard is 3 acres and is entirely Cabernet Sauvignon. Two acres were planted in 2000, the remaining acre was added in 2009. The human touch with this vineyard starts with David Bejar, who lovingly cares for the vines throughout the year.

Cabernet Sauvignon

Manley Estate Vineyards – Rutherford AVA

The Rutherford AVA is an American Viticulatural Area located within Napa Valley AVA and centered on the town of Rutherford, California. The area is known for it’s unique terroir particularly with it’s Cabernet Sauvignon. The well-drained soil of this area is composition of gravel, loam and sand with volcanic deposits and marine sediments from the Franciscan Assemblage. The appellation accounts for only 6,650 acres.

Rutherford is an appellation within the appellation, which has a diversity of soils, exposure, and orientation that is as complex as Napa Valley. The alluvial soil fans that deliver into Rutherford from the east and west. What most people don’t understand about Rutherford dust is that it represents a later ripening site in the heart of the valley, which slows the ripening down to add finesse and complexity to the wines. Historical records show that a portion of the vineyard was actually planted in 1895 by Mrs. Thomas Rutherford herself

Rutherford Dust

“The Rutherford Dust”

The legend of Rutherford dust starts with the regions superior soil makeup. The lighter dirt on the valley floor helped differentiate it from the other Napa Valley AVA’s. Thus giving the region the term “Rutherford Dust”, now the name is used around the world by winedrinkers alike. In Rutherford, the deeper soils and microclimates create longer growing seasons and ‘hang time’ that seem to round out the tannins in a soft, dusty style. The lighter soil dust gives the Rutherford region a special flavor profile that differentiates it from other Napa Valley regions. This gives wines from the area a powdery ‘fine dusty tannin’ effect with hints of plump cocoa powder.

Rutherford Cabernet

Cabernet Country

Director of Winemaking Brooks Painter noted “The quality of the Cabernet Sauvignon fruit from the Manley Lane Vineyard is astounding. It is deep, rich and full of intense flavors that can only come from valley floor Cabernet. We can’t wait to share the wine made from this vineyard in the very near future. Cheers to Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon!”

Rutherford Dust Cabernet Sauvignon
Rutherford Cabernet


Gordon Ramsey

Gordon Ramsey Visits The Castle

Jim Sullivan

July 6th, 2020

Gordon Ramsay Visits The Castle

If you have ever watched Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen TV Show, you know that things can get out of hand quickly. That is exactly what happened when Gordon Ramsay and and his pals, Gino and Fred visited the Castle. They filmed Gordon, Gino & Fred: American Road Trip, Summer of Love.

Gordon Ramsey

Watch as Gordon, his Italian celebrity chef friend Gino D’Acampo and Fred Siriex, a french maitre d’hotel, best known for appearing on Channel 4’s first dates and BBC Two Million Pound Menu, set out to find the Castle and taste the wines with their host and owner of Castello di Amorosa, Dario Sattui. While the entire episode is entertaining, you can skip ahead to 28:00 to see Castello di Amorosa.



Best California Chardonnay

The Fifty Best - California Chardonnay

Jim Sullivan

June 24th, 2020

Best California Chardonnay

From the Napa Valley to New York. Castello di Amorosa’s Reserve Chardonnay won a gold medal in the Fifty Best professional wine tasting in New York. Twenty-three premium wine contenders were evaluated for the distinguished “Best California Chardonnay” awards for 2020.

Using professional criteria, the pre-qualified panel of judges blind-tasted the chardonnays and rated them individually on a 1 to 5-point scoring system with 5 being the highest. After tallying the scores, medals were awarded based on the judges’ impressions.

Chardonnay is the most widely planted white grape variety, globally. The grape originated in a small village of Chardonnay in France and is now grown throughout the world. Castello’s Reserve Chardonnay is grown in the cool-climate Los Carneros AVA of the Napa Valley.

The wine judges had the following observation of our award-winning Reserve Chardonnay:

Following fermentation, this 100% Chardonnay was aged in 100% new Burgundian French oak barrels for 12 months prior to bottling. Aroma: Green apple, rambutan, lemon peel, minerality, subtle malo, slight oak, buttery. Palate: Bountiful lemon, lemon peel, apple, pear, melon, mango, peach, great tropical fruit, floral, cedar box, balanced oak, buttery, buttered popcorn, creamy, vanilla, smooth, crisp, classic California chardonnay. Finish: Ripe lemon, lime, mango, papaya, oak, vanilla, creamy, soft, balanced.

The complete results, along with tasting notes, can be viewed here:

https://www.thefiftybest.com/wine/best_california_chardonnay/

TheFiftyBest.com is a digital guide to wines & spirits, featuring rated listings resulting from proprietary blind tastings as judged by wine/spirits journalists, sommeliers, wine/spirit retailers, mixologists, wine consultants and connoisseurs. The Fifty Best achieves the highest standards of spirits evaluations by adhering to strict tasting rules and rigorous methodology.



Celebrity Guests of The Castle

Celebrity Guests of Castello di Amorosa

You Never Know Who You Might See at Castello di Amorosa. Check out some of our well known visitors that have been through the halls of the Castello. We have had Governors, professional athletes, actors and much more through the gates.

Arnold Schwarzenegger

The former Mr. Universe and Governor of California visited Castello back in 2016. He was a personal guest of Dario Sattui, he was given personal private tour by Dario.

Robert Redford

The retired Actor & Director has been a longtime resident of the Napa Valley. Mr. Redford visited Castello di Amorosa when he performed at the annual Festival Napa Valley in July of 2018.

Francis Ford Coppola

One of the greatest directors in the history of Cinema, is also a fellow vintner and longtime friend of Creator Dario Sattui. The director of Godfather, has been to the Castello on many occasions. Here, he is pictured at our Pagan Ball spectacular with his wife Eleanor.

Gordon Ramsey

Gordon Ramsay

Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay was the most recent celebrity visitor of Castello di Amorosa. Gordon filmed American Road Trip which can be seen here. He visited in 2019 during the week of our Harvest Celebration.

Adam Sandler

One of the first celebrity visitors of the Castello. Adam Sandler was the star of the Disney movie Bedtime Stories which was filmed at Castello di Amorosa in 2008.

C.C. Sabathia & E-40

The Vallejo native & Hall-of-Fame New York Yankee pitcher C.C. Sabathia had a private event at the Castello in 2018. Among his guests was fellow Vallejo native, rapper E-40.

The Kardashians

The Kardashians had the “#bestday” at Castello di Amorosa in March 2016. The ladies took a private tour of the Castle, while filming part of an episode for Keeping up with The Kardashians. All three ended up wearing crowns.

Mayor Rudy Giuliani

Giuliani served as the 107th Mayor of New York City from 1994 to 2001. He came to the Castello in 2010 with his wife and enjoyed a private food & wine tour in the Royal Apartment with sommelier Mary Davidek. He also served as attorney to President Donald Trump.

Fergie

Fergie attended a benefit and even performed at Castello di Amorosa. She originally achieved chart success as part of the hip hop group The Black Eyed Peas.

Mario Andretti

Mario Andretti

Here’s a memory from back in 2010. That’s Mario Andretti with Castello President, Georg Salzner Great visit with one of the best race car drivers ever!

Bon Jovi

In 1986, the New Jersey native broke onto the scene selling more than 20 million records. Bon Jovi attended a benefit concert at Castello di Amorosa back in 2014.



Castle Victorian

Introducing The Castello Victorian

Bradley Aden

March 11th, 2020

The Castello Victorian – The Newest Addition

Built in 1886, Castello Victorian is a historic 4 bedroom Victorian home located in Calistoga, CA. Recently restored to its historic charm and converted into an Inn, this 3600 sq ft home is perfect for individuals, couples or families looking to either rent individual rooms or book the entire house while visiting Napa Valley. Built in 1886, Castello Victorian is a historic 4 bedroom Victorian home located in Calistoga, CA. Recently restored to its historic charm and converted into an Inn, this 3600 sq ft home is perfect for individuals, couples or families looking to either rent individual rooms or book the entire house while visiting Napa Valley.

Whether you’re looking for an individual room to stay or an entire house to entertain, make your next visit to Napa Valley one to remember at Castello Victorian! Bring along your friends, your family, and stay in your own private vacation home.

This spacious, updated Victorian Inn is surrounded by majestic trees, outdoor-dining deck, and a BBQ area – perfect for relaxing and entertaining with family and friends. This 3600 sqft home offers:

  • 4 bedrooms, each with their own private baths
  • Large living room with WIFI and cable TV
  • Full-equipped and newly updated kitchen
  • Bar area with wine refrigerator
  • Laundry – washer/dryer
  • Beautiful backyard with redwood decking for BBQ’s and al fresco dining

Book Now


Best of Show Gewurztraminer

2020 American Fine Wine Competition!

Bradley Aden

February 14th, 2020

2020 American Fine Wine Competition

We received 9 gold medals at The American Wine Competition. We were the only winery to receive 2 Best of Class Wines. AFWC is “Invitation-only” and includes only wines that received an invitation. The panel of 32 judges include a somm, a wine-trained chef, a wine writer, and an educator, with no producers or distributors to avoid biases. Judges in the AFWC circulate to encourage positive, consistent and careful evaluations.

Best of Show: 2018 Gewurztraminer, Anderson Valley

Winemaker Brooks Painter noted “The grapes for this wine were grown in the Anderson Valley, Mendocino County. We pick after the grapes have developed a pink to reddish hue, and the aromas are effuse with rose petals, cinnamon spice and exotic lychee fruit. We handle the fruit very carefully, avoiding as much as possible some of the more bitter tannins found in the skins. It is cold fermented in stainless steel and bottled in the spring. Gewürztraminer is a grape I am familiar with, as it was one of the first white grapes I made into wine when I started in the wine business 38 years ago. It is delightful with strong cheeses, spicy Asian dishes and sauced white meats.”

Mary Davidek, who runs our highly acclaimed Royal Food & Wine Pairing Tour at the Castello, recommends pairing spicy dishes such as Thai or Indian cuisine with Gewurztraminer, to complement the sweet & spicy elements of the wine.

Best of Class: 2014 Il Barone, Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

Robert Parker of The Wine Advocate scored the 2014, 94 Points. Parker Noted “The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Il Barone is also impressively endowed with plenty of crème de cassis, blueberry, blackberry fruit, a dense purple color, full-bodied mouthfeel, sweet tannin and a long finish. The wine has more fruit and less minerality than the Butala Vineyard and doesn’t quite show the graphite character, but it is a beautiful Cabernet Sauvignon to drink over the next 15-20 years. Drink 2016 – 2036.”

Mary Davidek, who runs our highly acclaimed Royal Food & Wine Pairing Tour at the Castello, recommends grilled red meats, wild game, and flavorful cheeses to compliment the excellent 2014 vintage.

All awards from the 2020 American Fine Wine Competition

Castello di Amorosa also received a number of Gold and Double Gold Medals, along with two Best of Class medals for our 2015 Il Barone, Cabernet Sauvignon & 2018 Dry Gewürztraminer. We also received Best of Show White Wine Winner in 2018 Dry Gewürztraminer. Check out the complete list of award winners:

We are always proud of our amazing winemaking team, and look forward to sharing our award-winning wines with you!