You don’t need to travel all the way to Italy to see the inside of a Tuscan castle. Castello di Amorosa, one of V. Sattui’s open-to-the-public wineries in Napa Valley, is built to precisely replicate a spectacular medieval fortress. Complete with moat and drawbridge (and even a torture chamber), Castello di Amorosa is the dream of Dario Sattui, who acknowledges that he had to be a little crazy to build his labor of love in Calistoga. “I still don’t know for sure why I spent 15 years of my life building this castle,” the winery owner says with a laugh.
The castle boasts 107 rooms (not including the underground network of caves), and no two rooms are alike. On guided tours, look for spectacular flourishes like the hand-painted frescoes in the Great Hall. In the 12,000-square-foot Grand Barrel Room, look up to see a cross-vaulted ceiling crafted from ancient bricks while you sip award-winning Italian-style wines. Or enjoy food and wine pairings with the castle’s sommelier in the Royal Apartment, complete with a carved fireplace and hand-forged chandeliers.
Impressive? Yes. Inspiring? Ditto. “You do something you love, you put your heart and soul into it, you put everything you have into it…and people will see it, and it’ll come back to you,” explains Sattui. “First you have to have a dream.”