CALISTOGA, Calif, August 23, 2019 – Castello di Amorosa, Dario Sattui’s authentically built, 13th century Tuscan castle and winery- one of Napa Valley’s landmark destinations- received top honors in USA TODAY’s 10Best Readers’ Choice, being named “Best Tasting Room 2019” after the winery was nominated by wine industry experts and ultimately voted on by the public. The results were announced at the winery to all employees at 9:00 a.m. on August 23.
“It was a great honor to be nominated for the Reader’s Choice- Best Tasting Room 2019 by a panel of wine industry experts,” explained Dario Sattui, proprietor of Castello di Amorosa. “It was quite humbling, actually, when we learned we were named the Best Tasting Room,” he added. “When we opened the doors almost thirteen years ago, I wondered how my castle would be received, as it was so unorthodox a concept,” remembers Dario Sattui. “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 our direct-to-consumer approach, often returning to the winery many times with family and friends,” he adds.
The other contenders were Stoller Family Estate (Dayton, Oregon), Louis M. Martini (Napa Valley), Long Shadows Vintners (Walla Walla, Washington), HALL Rutherford (Napa), Outland (Napa), Del Dotto Vineyards (Napa), Presqu’ile Winery (Santa Maria, CA), Tank Garage Winery (Napa) and Iron Horse Vineyards (Sebastopol, CA).
The Castello’s winemakers use a combination of the latest high-tech equipment and old-world techniques such as whole cluster fermentation in French oak barrels, gravity feeding wines to improve quality and creating world-class wines in concrete eggs.
Guests can choose between guided tours (which include the torture chamber, the armory, the grand barrel room and the Great Hall with its stunning frescoes) or tours with assorted food elements, such as chocolates, cheeses, antipasti or the Royal Food & Wine Pairing Tour. Another option for guests includes wine tasting in the medieval-like underground vaulted brick cellars.
The wine industry experts who partnered with 10 Best editors to pick the initial 20 nominees included Jill Barth, Shana Clarke, Ziggy Eschliman, Karen MacNeil, June Rodil and Dynie Sanderson.
About USA TODAY 10Best Reader’s Choice Awards:
The 10Best Readers’ Choice Award contest launches new categories every other Monday at noon, revealing each category’s 20 nominees. After four weeks of voting, the contest closes on the 28th day at noon. On the Friday after voting ends, winners are revealed. Rules allow the public the right to vote online for one nominee per category, per day. Nominees for all categories are chosen by a panel of relevant experts which include a combination of editors from USA TODAY; editors from 10Best.com; relevant expert contributors; and sources for both these media and other Gannett properties. The nomination panel for each award category is displayed on its associated contest page. All voting is digital and the 10Best Readers’ Choice Award contest is accessible on the 10Best.com website. For more information, visit www.10best.com/awards/about/
About Castello di Amorosa:
One of Napa Valley’s landmark destinations, Castello di Amorosa was a labor of love for founder Dario Sattui. The winery celebrated its 12th anniversary in April 2019. Castello di Amorosa incorporates five defensive towers with battlements, a Great Hall with a coffered ceiling featuring hand-painted frescoes and a 500 year-old fireplace, a chapel, drawbridge, dungeon, watch tower, torture chamber and secret passageways. Using medieval construction techniques, the Castello was built with antique bricks, roof tiles, hand-hewn timbers and doors, hand-forged iron gates, lamps and hardware imported from Europe, as well as over 8,000 tons of hand-chiseled local stone. The Castello’s limited production wines are available exclusively at the winery.
Calistoga High School students Christian Pedersen and Aaron Heth played a trumpet fanfare when the news was announced.
Located at 4045 Saint Helena Highway in Calistoga (94515), Castello di Amorosa is open seven days a week from 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and offers a variety of wine tasting and winery tour options. Reservations---for guided tours only---are recommended. Castello di Amorosa sells its entire production of wine exclusively at the winery. The winery offers a number of memorable events every year, which include historical reenactments and themed festivities, such as The Royal Hearts Dinner, Hot Havana Nights and more.