Cleaning The Ocean

Dario Sattui

November 16th, 2022

Cleaning The Oceans

How many people realize that there is an island of trash – mostly discarded plastic – in the Pacific Ocean that is 3 times the size of France, a large European country? 8,000,000 metric tons of discarded plastic escapes into the ocean EVERY YEAR! That is the equivalent of placing five garbage bags full of trash on every foot of coastline around the world. This plastic is killing sea life and birds at an alarming rate.

How many of you realize that plastic production rose from 2.3 million tons in 1950 to 448,000,000 million tons by 2015? Production is expected to double to 896,000,000 tons by 2050.

Plastic contains additives which makes it unable to break down for 400 years or more. Half of all plastics ever manufactured have been made in the last 15 years. Landfills are overflowing with waste plastic. China has now refused to take our unwanted plastic into its country as it used to several years ago.

THIS IS AN ALARMING PROBLEM.

As I deeply care about our environment, I have invested in a company, Resynergi of Santa Rosa, California, which will take most discarded plastic and turn it into energy and/or chemicals for making new virgin plastics without harming the environment in the process. This process is called CMAP, Continuous Microwave Assisted Pyrolysis.

Discarded plastic is collected and heat of 1000 degrees Fahrenheit is applied in an oxygen-free environment causing the solid material to form a gas. The gas is then cooled into a liquid product (fuel) or it can be made into new plastic.

I am hopeful that we will all come together to solve this global issue.Otherwise, we will have a very contaminated environment which may not be worth living in.

Dario Sattui Signature

There are several organizations across the world that fight to make the ocean a cleaner place. New technologies have seen tremendous advances in cleaning ability. Places like The Ocean Cleanup, The Blue Marine Foundation, Ocean Conservancy and Oceana all strive to make impacts, these are just a few companies but there is a long list of others. We recommend doing your own research before giving money or time. We just wanted to highlight some of the different places making a true impact.



Disney's The Quest

Disney's The Quest

Bradley Aden

May 10th, 2022

Disney’s The Quest – Filmed on Location!

We are excited to announce the premiere of Disney’s The Quest on May 11th, the show features a competition series that was filmed here at Castello di Amorosa from December 2020 to March 2021. The Quest will premiere on their streaming service Disney+. This high paced show features a bevy of challenges, mazes and puzzles throughout the Castle. This will be the second season of The Quest.

Brought to the screen by the Academy Award- and Emmy-winning teams behind “The Amazing Race” and “The Lord of the Rings”. This ground-breaking, immersive, hybrid competition series drops eight real-life teenagers into the fantastic, fictional world of Everealm, where they must save a Kingdom by fulfilling an ancient prophecy. Everealm has long been a land of unrivaled beauty and powerful magic. Now, the realm is threatened by a powerful evil Sorceress. These eight teenage strangers known as the Paladins, must face a series of challenges in order to restore balance to Everealm. Throughout the eight-episode series, these heroes are immersed in a fantasy world come to life complete with a castle, royals, ethereal Fates, all forms of mystical creatures and a Sorceress intent on destruction and power.

Producer Rob Eric, said, “The Quest is a truly unique unscripted show as it takes contestants into a fully immersive world of magic and fantasy. There is no better partner than Disney+ for this type of enchanted storytelling.”

Executive producers Jane Fleming and Mark Ordesky commented “We’re doing something magical that has never been done at this level. We’re taking real people and putting them in a fully realized fantasy story, conceived and built by incredible artisans in every department. It’s an immersive, real-life hero’s journey for these eight normal teenagers, who transform before your very eyes. It’s an exciting new form of storytelling.”

Pack your bags (and swords), we’re headed to Everealm. Embark on a world of fantasy in #TheQuest, an Original series, streaming May 11 only on #DisneyPlus. For more updates, subscribe to Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic.

Filming took place throughout the Castle rooms and spaces. There was also extensive filming done in the forests surrounding Castello di Amorosa. Be sure to tag us #TheCastello in your social media posts! We are pleased we could contribute our Medieval setting to the creative magic at Disney. Thank you to everyone that was involved with making this amazing project a reality. Make sure to stream Season 2 of The Quest on Wednesday May 11th!

The Quest


15th Anniversary

Bradley Aden

April 20th, 2022

Our 15th Anniversary!

Our 15th Anniversary is here! We are pleased to announce our 15th anniversary here at Castello di Amorosa. To our loyal Amici del Barone Wine members and those of you that enjoy our wines as a part of your celebrations, we offer our sincere thanks for your support throughout the years. Many of you know that Castello di Amorosa was a 30-year labor of love; a culmination of my life’s dream to build an authentically styled Tuscan castle in the Napa Valley where I could make outstanding Italian-style wine.

“I am extremely pleased with the Castello’s contributions to the world of wine and wine tourism. I set out attempting to create an extraordinary winery and today it is extremely rewarding to see so many customers enjoying the Castello and our wines,” Sattui is a committed philanthropist who has supported numerous causes in the Napa Valley and beyond—from endowing a new school and Boys & Girls Club in Calistoga, funding heart research to donating land to the Land Trust in Sonoma County.

Castello di Amorosa has been recognized as one of the most visited wineries in the world. Among its many honors, it was chosen as The Best Tasting Room in America by USA Today in 2020 and in March of this year it was identified as the most Instagrammed winery in the world, according to research by TheThinkingTraveller travel company.

Dario Sattui Standing in Front of Castle

Other accolades include being recognized as one of “Napa’s Most Beautiful Wine Tasting Rooms” by Food & Wine Magazine, as “Best Wine Tasting Room” by North Bay Bohemian, as “Best Place to take visitors” by KVON Radio, as one of the “Top 5 Romantic Spots in the Napa Valley” and as one of “Ten Most Intriguing Architectural Wineries in Napa” by Napa Valley Life Magazine, in addition to receiving several Certificates of Excellence from Trip Advisor.

The Castello suffered an enormous setback in October of 2020, when a detached building of the Castle was destroyed by the Glass Fire: Sattui and his team are bent on restoring it just the way it was. Estimated completion of the restored wing is late 2023.

Castello di Amorosa View From Upper Tower

Castello di Amorosa used materials such as antique, handmade bricks and roof tiles, hand-hewn timbers, hand-forged iron gates, lamps and hardware and medieval construction techniques and over 8,000 tons of hand-chiseled local stone to create this architectural gem. Sattui designed most of the winery himself; it is not a replica of a medieval castle but rather a uniquely conceived one-of-a-kind building. The 150,000 square-foot castle / winery consists of four floors above ground and five floors below ground. It encompasses five defensive towers with battlements, 1,000-pound hand-hewn doors from Italy, a Great Hall with a 22-foot coffered ceiling featuring hand-painted frescoes inspired by medieval Italian frescoes. The castle’s 12,000 square foot Grand Barrel Room features 40 Roman cross-vaults in its brick ceiling. All of the ironwork was hand-forged by Italian artisans over open flames on site during the construction. Over 170 containers of handmade antique bricks, roof tiles and antique furniture were brought from Italy for the building. Additional authentic features include multiple courtyards, a chapel, the drawbridge, a watch tower, a torture chamber and secret passageways.

The winery itself is a modern contrast to the Castello as a whole. It contains advanced crushing and fermentation facilities, five underground levels and 24,000 square feet of caves all for barrel aging. Winemakers Brooks Painter and Peter Velleno have a wide range of equipment available to them, ranging from custom-designed triple-jacketed cooling fermentation tanks to concrete/ceramic eggs. Read more below about the construction of the Castle.

Dario Sattui Bottle Signing

In 1993, I purchased the spectacular property upon which I built Castello di Amorosa. It sat on a hundred-seventy beautiful acres of forest and hills with a stream, a lake, one of the first houses built in Napa County and a great Victorian home where I chose to live. It was my dream property, culminating a search of many years. The purchase also came with a great building permit for a large winery building which had taken the previous owner thirteen years to obtain.

My initial intent was to build an 8,500 square-foot building without cellars. (Gradually it morphed into 121,000 square feet with 107 rooms with four separate levels underground and four levels above!) After more than 15 years of research, I was ready to build my castle in the Napa Valley.

I had accumulated a wealth of knowledge on medieval architecture, a huge library of books, photos, plans and detailed sketches. I couldn’t wait to get started. The renovation of my historic Victorian at the bottom of the hill on the same property would have to wait. I was going to build my castle first.

Celebrating Our 15 Year Anniversary

Within a short time of acquiring property on which I would build, Lars Nimskov, the naval architect from Denmark, came from Italy and we began working on plans which were submitted and approved by Napa County a year later.

Castello di Amorosa appears to be an authentic castle for one reason only: it is an authentic castle, though fancified. We either used construction methods and materials that would have been used 1,000 years ago, or we used very old hand-made materials that had survived up to modern times. A fireplace predating Christopher Columbus adorns the Great Hall, and Iron Maiden from the late Renaissance dominates the torture chamber. A wrought iron dragon from the times of Napoleon hovers over the massive main door. More than 8,000 tons of stone were chiseled, not sawed, by hand to be absolutely authentic. Nearly 200 containers of old, hand made materials were shipped from Europe to lend authenticity.

Dario Sattui Castle Construction

Finally, we were able to open on April 7, 2007. I had no idea if the project would be well-received or not. Would I be laughed at or would people respond positively? The first few days after opening gave me hope. The response to both the Castle and our wines was overwhelmingly positive.

When we opened the doors fifteen years ago, I wondered how my castle would be received, as it was so unorthodox a concept. Today we have a collection of superb estate vineyards and highly acclaimed wines. Just recently our Morisoli-Borges Cabernet Sauvignon received 98 points from Jeb Dunnuck and our single-vineyard Melanson Cabernet Sauvignon received 97 points from The Wine Advocate. Our wonderful guests respect and enjoy the fact that our wines are only available at the winery or can be shipped directly to your home or business.

Thanks to you, my dreams have come true. Both the Castello and the wines have received great reviews. I encourage everyone to come visit and celebrate our 15th year in business. Thank you again for your continued support. We invite you to come visit and help celebrate our 15th Anniversary in the Napa Valley.

♦ Solar Grid Installed

We invested $1.4 million in a 450-kilowatt solar power array.

♦ Disney Films The Quest

During Covid-19 The Quest was filmed on location at Castello di Amorosa.

♦ Manley Estate Vineyard Acquired

Located in the Rutherford AVA of Napa Valley, we hope to get our first Manley Estate vintage in 2025.

♦ Castello Closed for 1st Time

Covid 19 & The Glass Fire forced us to close the Castello for the first time.

♦ Named Best Tasting Room in America

Voted Best Tasting Room in America by USA Today’s 10 Best.

♦ The Castle Hosts Festival Napa Valley

Breathtaking performances in iconic wine country, are paired with Napa Valley’s unparalleled food, wine and hospitality. Festival Napa Valley offers programs that uplift and inspire, and attract artists and audiences from around the world. The annual July celebration raised $2.6 million, a new record.

♦ We Celebrated Our 10th Anniversary

In 2017 we celebrated our 10th year in business.

♦ Highest Scoring Wine to Date

Our 2017 Melanson was scored 98 by Wine Enthusiast Magazine.

♦ Our Popular Butala Estate Club Established

2016 was the year we purchased Butala vineyard from Letterman star headman Tony Butala. Our estate club of the same name was established the same year.

Brooks Painter Named Winemaker of The Year

Our head winemaker Brooks Painter was named head winemaker of the year in 2014 by The American Fine Wine Competition.

♦ 1st Vintage of our Acclaimed Cabernet Sinalunga

2012 marked the first year that we made our ultra premium Cabernet Sauvignon Sinalunga, inspired by the abandoned Castles from the Sinalunga countryside.

♦ Pixar Movie Brave Premier at The Castle

The event saw a total of 2,400 people attend a screening of Brave.

♦ Named Best Restroom in America

Winners of the 10th annual Best Restroom in America contest.

♦ Grape Juice Program Starts

We wanted to do something special and offer something to the non-alcohol drinkers & children that come visit Castello di Amorosa each and every year.

♦ Bachelor TV Show is Filmed

The popular television show The Bachelor was filmed at the Castle in 2008.

♦ Our Beloved Goat Giacomo Rescued

“This is dense and intense with a beautiful velvety texture and ripe fruit, but it remains fresh and clean. Full body. Textured finish. Better in 2016.”

♦ Pagan Ball & Masquerade Ball

We started two beloved events at the Castle.

♦ Bedtime Stories Movie is Filmed

“SBedtime Stories was filmed at the Castello in 2008 staring Adam Sandler.

♦ The Castello Opens

Construction is completed and we have our first paying customers.

History Part IHistory Part IIHistory Part III


Solar at The Castle

castelloamor

April 18th, 2022

Solar at The Castle

We invested $1.4 million in a 450-kilowatt solar power array. The massive 24 panel system was completed in January of 2022 and is situated on a spot which had been a forested slope but was significantly burned in the Glass Fire that hit the Napa Valley in 2020.

“This enormous investment is an important element of our commitment to become as self-sufficient as possible while minimizing our carbon footprint and helping with the climate change crisis. We expect this will offset our energy usage around 80%,” explains Georg Salzner, President, Castello di Amorosa.

Napa Valley Green Solar

Castello di Amorosa partnered with Centrica, Recolte Energy, 127 Energy and DEIF on the multiple components of this installation. 127 Energy designed the 556-kilowatt battery storage microgrid. Using advanced and remotely accessed power controls, the microgrid provides Castello di Amorosa with an independent power supply during frequent utility grid outages. During times of normal operations, the microgrid reduces utility energy charges and demand charges, resulting in significant operational savings for the winery.

“Due to fire risks and skyrocketing power prices, commercial business owners in California are taking matters into their own hands. Castello di Amorosa, Centrica Business Solutions, and Sungrow were great partners on this project and our collaboration exemplifies how innovative teams can solve daunting environmental and energy-related challenges,” said Mark Crowdis, CEO of 127 Energy. “The battery storage microgrid provides a striking juxtaposition of resilient, clean energy technology against the backdrop of historic castle grounds,” Crowdis added.

Solar Project

Other examples of Castello di Amorosa’s environmentally friendly programs and practices:

· Napa Green Certified: the winery has been Napa Green Certified since May 2018 (renewed in June 2021). Being Napa Green Certified’s requirements include LED Lighting, using a minimum of 50% recycled paper in the winery offices; using recycled cardboard and recycled pulp for shipping (instead of Styrofoam), using green certified cleaning agents and hand soap; using recyclable/compostable plates/flatware.

Bio Microbics Micro Fiber filtration system: the winery treats all of its processed water (water used during production of wine) and re-uses it for landscaping. Since 2017, the winery has treated and re-used over 5,000,000 gallons of water.

· The winery has begun composting as of January, 2022.

· Napa Ride Share program: the winery pays employees to carpool, thus eliminating more cars on the road.

Castello di Amorosa owns and farms 130 acres in Napa, Sonoma and Anderson Valley.



Cooking with Team Castello

Bradley Aden

August 17th, 2021

Cook with The Castello Team

Go inside the homes of the Castello team as they share their favorite recipes paired with their favorite Castello wines. Included in our cooking series is Owner Dario Sattui, President Georg Salzner, Tasting Room Legend Vincenzo Coppola and newly married couple Tommaso & Carly.

Dario & Irina

Owner Dario Sattui & Fiance Irina Yartseva share their favorite Pasta Recipe Pasta Alle Vongole. The pasta is paired with Pinot Grigio, a lively and crisp dry white wine with zesty citrus and melon aromas, bright acidity, and a refreshing, fruity finish.

Pasta Alle Vongole

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President Georg Salzner

Castello di Amorosa President, Georg Salzner shares his favorite recipe Cotoletta Alla Milanese. The Schnitzel is paired with Pinot Noir from our Morning Dew Ranch estate.

Cotoletta Alla Milanese

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Tasting Room Legend Vincenzo

Watch & follow along with tasting room legend Vincenzo, as he takes you back to his Italian roots. Vincenzo welcomes you into his home as he shows off his favorite recipe. Our outstanding Rosato, is used to pair with the squid ink pasta.

Squid Ink Pasta

Click for Vincenzo’s Wine Pack

Carly & Tomasso

Watch & follow along with Castello di Amorosa’s finest couple, newlyweds Carly & Tommaso. The new parents invite you into their kitchen to cook Italian style Rissoto.

Italian Style Rissoto

Click for Carly & Tommaso Wine Pack



Castello Fire Time

Introducing The Castello Fire Team

Jim Sullivan

June 25th, 2021

Introducing “Cavalieri del Fuoco,”

After experiencing the devasting effects of the Glass Fire in October 2020, the team at Dario Sattui’s Castello di Amorosa vows to be ready when the next Red Flag Warning is raised in the Napa Valley. Announced today was the formation of a newly assembled fire watch team, which will provide additional defense against fires during fire season and is equipped with fire protective gear and thousands of feet of fire hose, which attach to the Castello’s 3 fire hydrants on the property.

Napa Valley Fire Team

“The Glass Fire hit our Farmhouse so fast,” said Georg Salzner, President of Castello di Amorosa. “We were on site when it struck in the early morning hours, and we did what we could but felt like we could have done more to limit the damage. We could have been more of a resource to the firefighters who were stretched thin that night,” he added.

Salzner organized a fire defense team of 8 long-term employees who know the intricacies of the Castle, its grounds and Dario Sattui’s Victorian home just outside the main Castle gates. This team is known as the “Cavalieri del Fuoco,” which means the Knights of Fire in Italian. This team will establish a fire watch and be ready to respond during Red Flag Warning conditions and will provide support for firefighters. On an ongoing basis they will establish and maintain a defensible space around all structures by removing as much threat from those structures as possible.

“It is critically important that we implement fire defensive measures now,” Salzner explained. “We’ve outfitted this team with the proper equipment. The entire perimeter of the Castello can be reached by the thousands of feet of fire hose that we purchased which will allow us to support the fire department’s efforts,” he continued.

The Cavalieri del Fuoco is led by Salzner, Tim Dexter, Maintenance Manager and Josh Fairbanks, owner of Fairbanks Mechanical (manages all mechanical systems at the Castello including the fire safety equipment). Long-time employee Carlos Perez is the official Fire Chief of the Cavalieri.

“Our main goal,” explains Tim Dexter, “is to have and maintain a defensible space of 150 feet from all structures to flammable vegetation. Smaller brush, tree trimming (branches lower to the ground) and tree clearing will be done using our newly acquired wood-chipper. This process will eliminate fire fuel sources which will prevent fires from becoming a threat. Regular gutter cleaning will take place in the summer and fall to eliminate fuel sources near roof lines. The new hoses will allow us to water down roof tops as well,” he adds.

To make the property less susceptible to fire, the Castello invested nearly $100,000 in gear for the fire defense team and equipment which includes a portable water pump that obtains water from the lake, adaptors for the existing fire hydrants, thousands of feet of high-pressure fire hose and nozzles plus custom firefighting gear for the employees.

Each hydrant can be outfitted with dual 4” hose attachments, which allow the use of 1.5” fire hoses. The fire defense team then attaches the hoses to the fire hydrant and can begin to extinguish the fire with a strong water stream which can reach distances of 150 feet.

Castello di Amorosa is one of Napa Valley’s most recognized wineries and welcomes visitors by appointment seven days a week.


Glass Fire Part I

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

Read Part 1
Castello Fire Time


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


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

Dario Sattui in front of castle door

Dario Sattui, Owner

Dario Sattui in front of castle door

Dario Sattui

Dario Sattui, owner of Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga, California, and great-grandson of San Francisco, California pioneer vintner, Vittorio Sattui, was born in San Francisco in 1941 and raised in San Francisco and Fairfax in Marin County. He attended Drake High School and then the College of Marin.

As a child, Sattui was an entrepreneur and loved playing sports. He started various businesses in grammar school, high school and college and gained valuable experience in the basics of business.

His great grandfather Vittorio Sattui, an Italian immigrant, founded V. Sattui Winery in 1885 in San Francisco. As Vittorio lived to be 94 years old, Dario got to know him and was fascinated by his stories and photos of the old winery, above which the Vittorio Sattui family continued to live even after Prohibition closed the old V. Sattui Winery. As a child, Dario would play among the barrels and tanks in the underground cellars while dreaming of reviving V. Sattui Winery when he grew up.

He kept this dream alive as he furthered his education receiving a B.S. in Accounting and Finance from San Jose State University in 1965 and then an M.B.A. with an emphasis in Marketing from University of California, Berkeley in 1969.

Following graduation, Sattui traveled around Europe for two years in an old VW van. It was during this period his fascination for medieval architecture began to take shape. Living out of his van, Sattui would visit medieval castles, monasteries, palaces farmhouses and wineries studying their designs, taking photographs and completing detailed sketches and renderings.

In 1972, Sattui returned to the U.S. with the intent of re-establishing his great grandfather’s original V. Sattui winery which had been dormant for more than 50 years. With $8,000 and a novel approach to the wine business he re-opened V. Sattui winery in St. Helena and turned a profit in the first year of operation.

Armed with his vault of medieval architectural renderings and another passionate dream, Sattui purchased a 171-acre vineyard property in Calistoga in 1993 and began construction of Castello di Amorosa Winery in 1994. Clearly, the success of V.Sattui winery built the 121,000 square foot, 12th-century style, authentic Tuscan castle winery. Read Castello di Amorosa’s History & Owner to dive deeper into Dario Sattui’s vision.

His hobbies include travel, sports, nature, eating and drinking well, business ideas, and restoring medieval buildings.

Learn more about Dario’s inspiration for building Castello di Amorosa.

Interviews

How I Turned $8,000 Into a Wine Empire, June, 2021 (Interview)
Sattui Donates $1 Million to Calistoga Schools, July 2, 2020

Articles

A History of The Project – Part 1, by Dario Sattui
A History of The Project – Part 2, by Dario Sattui
A History of The Project – Part 3, by Dario Sattui