About 15 minutes north of Napa, nestled behind hills of grapevines, sits an authentically styled 13th century Tuscan castle winery…and why not, right?
(As told partially by memory of my tour guide Jacob’s speech and their website)
Once upon a time, in 1885, a man named Vittorio Sattui established a successful winery. Sattui passed on his winemaking passion and business to his children, and them to theirs, before the business went dormant.
Decades after doors closing, Sattui’s great-grandson, Dario was born and introduced to the legacies of his family’s winery. After Dario graduated college, he went to explore Europe, and discover more about his Italian heritage. While stumbling through Italy, Dario was in awe of the raw, ancient castles.
His awe turned to obsession in 1994, when those wine-filled dreams of a castle winery became a reality. “Not wanting to be the least bit dishonest, Sattui made sure to source every single brick from Europe,” Jacob pointed at the markings on a few, “you’ll see some of these show the authentic brick brand embossed on the side, see?”
You can’t fake something like this. You either do it right or people will know it’s not authentic.
One of my favorite parts of the castle is the animal garden. It’s the only free attraction, besides parking, as the fence comes right up to the entrance. I didn’t feel like their presence had any rhyme or reason, but I suppose that made it all the better!
Take the Tour
It’s only $15 more than the entry-fee, and lets you explore the process of making and tasting wine of different ages and stages! The guide will take you through the cool cellars and talk about the red wine being fermented there, and show you a few bonus rooms that Dario Sattui couldn’t leave out of his authentic castle.
The tour might not be for you if you’re more about tasting wine and less about making it––since you can do this with the entry fee. However, the tour is kid-friendly and offers grape juice* at the end. After the main tasting, you can choose to buy what you taste, or nosey on over to the abundant gift shop before you head out!
Oddities are my thing, so you can only imagine how stoked I was to find a torture room hidden beneath the castle! It wasn’t extensive, but the two-part chamber housed some pretty wacky stuff. Torture methods consist of spiked chairs, bone-stretchers, and an underground [now-empty] chamber of hungry animals!
If castles aren’t your thing, feel free to ignore all the history by realizing the magnificent views from atop the vantage point. Napa Valley never looked so lush from these heights.