Clio Logo
Historic Wineries of California Wine Country
Item 2 of 14
In 1885, Vittorio Sattui, an Italian immigrant, founded St. Helena Wine Cellars in San Francisco's Mission District. Three generations later, in 1993, his great grandson, Dario Sattui, purchased land in Calistoga on the site of a vineyard that had been established in 1846. Dario began building a 13th century-style Tuscan castle on the property. After 15 years of construction, the castle finally opened to the public in 2007 as the Castello di Amorosa Winery.

  • Castello di Amorosa tower
  • Castello di Amorosa Vineyards
  • Construction of the Castello di Amorosa
  • Castello di Amorosa: A Labor of Love (Book)
  • V. Sattui Wine Company, San Francisco Mission District, 1899

Vittorio Sattui immigrated to California from Italy in the early 1880s, and he founded St. Helena Wine Cellars in San Francisco's Mission District in 1885. The Sattui family continued to reside at the winery even during Prohibition in the early twentieth century when the winery was forced to close to the public. The winery remained dormant for several decades until Vittorio Sattui's great grandson, Dario Sattui, decided to reopen the family business.

After finishing his MBA at the University of California at Berkeley in 1969, Dario Sattui traveled around Europe in a Volkswagen van, while visiting wineries, castles, palaces, medieval monasteries, and farmhouses. Without him fully realizing it at the time, a vision was in the midst of taking shape in his mind.

Upon returning to the United States, Dario launched V. Sattui Winery in St. Helena in honor of his great grandfather. Meanwhile, he searched for the perfect piece of land on which to expand the family winery. In 1975, he purchased 171 acres of land in Calistoga on the site of a vineyard that had originally been planted by Colonel William Nash in 1846. The property also included forest, hills, a stream, and a lake.

In 1994, Dario then began building a 13th century-style Tuscan castle on the property using authentic methods of medieval construction (adapted to meet modern building codes). Construction began in 1994 and took a total of 15 years. It is 121,000 square feet with 107 rooms, with four stories underground and four stories above ground.

The castle and wine cellar finally opened to the public in 2007 featuring Tuscan-style wines. The Castello di Amorosa offers visitors an immersive wine-tasting experience with the ambience of a traditional medieval Italian castle. The entire process has been well-documented in the book, Castello di Amorosa: A Labor of Love.

Castello di Amorosa, Castello di Amorosa. Accessed July 12th 2020. https://castellodiamorosa.com/explore/.

Image Sources(Click to expand)

Castello di Amorosa

Castello di Amorosa

Castello di Amorosa

Castello di Amorosa

Castello di Amorosa