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“Castello di Amorosa--Great place, not-so-great tour guide”

Castello di Amorosa
Experience for Yourself
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Napa Wine Tour From San Francisco with Castello Di Amorosa Including Lunch
Ranked #1 of 68 things to do in Calistoga
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: Castello di Amorosa is one of Napa Valley's most unique wineries. At over 136,000 square feet, the authentically-built 13th-century Tuscan-style castle and winery offers a variety of tour options including Reserve wine tours, food and wine pairing tours and a cheese and wine tour. Castello di Amorosa makes a variety of award-winning wines from its location on the hillside above Calistoga. Try "Il Barone," the wine that Robert Parker rated 94 points. The Castello also produces Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, Rose, Pinot Bianco, Sangiovese, Barbera, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Il Brigante blend, Cabernet Sauvignon, La Castellana Super Tuscan Blend, Il Raggio del Sole, Fantasia, Il Passito Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon and Late Harvest Gewurztraminer, the top dessert wine at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition for two consecutive years.
Useful Information: Wheelchair access
New Paltz, New York
Level Contributor
6 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Castello di Amorosa--Great place, not-so-great tour guide”
Reviewed September 24, 2009

I wanted to share a problem we had on our tasting tour at the castle on September 1st. Our concierge made reservations for us as 2 adults ($25 each) and 2 children ($15 each). Our guide, Joe from Philadelphia, was obviously very knowledgeable about the history of the castle and about wine, but really offended me.

The castle cat, Sir Lancelot, was following our tour for a while. When we were in the caves and having the first tasting from the barrels, he was leaping from barrel to barrel. I handed my glass with a sip of wine left in it to my 10 year old son to get a picture of the cat. Joe reprimanded me like *I* was a child saying that if the California Liquor Authorities saw that my son was holding the glass, the winery would get closed down for a month. The tone in which he spoke was so condescending that I was taken aback. Since he has such a loud voice to begin with, it really sounded like I was being shouted at. Though I think a penalty like closing the winery would be an over-reaction considering the circumstances notwithstanding, Joe could have phrased it a bit more politely. Perhaps..."I'm sorry, children can't hold any wine glasses per California law." No need to scold me in front of the 20 or so other people. In addition, he rushed us through some of the most interesting parts of the castle like the room with the echo under the chandelier and the torture chamber and got us to the tasting room.

As I walked into the tasting room, I heard Joe exclaim "You can't stand there!" I saw my 9 year old daughter's shocked face and asked my husband what had just happened. He said that Joe told our daughter to not stand near the bar/wine tasting area. Children were expected to sit at the chairs in the corner and look at everyone's backs. Unbelievable! It's not like she was trying to get served or something, she just wanted to ask my husband a question, who *was* standing at the bar 3 feet away from the chairs.

We chose this winery because of the appeal it would have for the kids-especially since part of the "Bedtime Stories" movie was filmed here. Right up front, we should have been advised of any expectations/restrictions, and we would have happily abided by them. The rude way in which both situations were handled stayed with me the rest of the day. It's not as though the kids were free, either. At the end of the tasting, Joe asked if we wanted to purchase anything. I was seething and just wanted to leave and said, "Sorry we can't bring it on the plane and a packaging box would be considered a 2nd checked bag." He then proceeded to lecture me that I must be mistaken about airlines charging for extra bags and started rattling off airline names that don't charge. I began responding that we were on Jet Blue but didn't bother to get into it (and I know for a fact that a wine case would be a $30 charge as a second checked item).

Our visit left a bad taste in my mouth (wine pun not intended).

FYI--we found a sealable, bubble wrap wine pouch at a local wine shop and it worked fine to protect the wine in our luggage. Bring some bubble wrap from home and Tyvek mailing envelopes if you want to try bringing any wine home in your suitcases.

1 Thank DeniseAck
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Level Contributor
10 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“a MUST SEE!!! love at first sight and taste!”
Reviewed September 19, 2009

This winery was simply BEAUTIFUL. My favorite stop in Napa. Our tour guide was fantastic and so informative. This winery seems to have taken every possible step to replicate an authentic castle. I would not have been disappointed with our choice to stop here even if they wine was not the best, but it WAS FABULOUS! I was impressed with this winery for the building/tour as well as the wine. Each and every one of their wines was a delight. A definite MUST SEE for anyone visiting Napa Valley.

Thank ambarclift
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Level Contributor
31 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed September 17, 2009

We did the tour of Castello di Amorosa on Saturday, September 12th. Our tour driver from the day before had told us that the castle tends to be kind of a tourist trap, but we were actually very impressed with the tour and the tasting. We both found the craftmanship of the castle to be very interesting and fun to learn about. The $30 that we paid included the tour and the tasting and I felt that it was a fair price. Our tourguide was friendly (although, I can't remember his name...) and very nice - he did a great job of "selling" the castle to us. We've never been to Italy and seen a real castle so I'm glad that we went on the tour and did the tasting - well worth it!

Thank JamB57
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Napa, CA
Level Contributor
2 reviews
“Insiders change of heart”
Reviewed September 16, 2009

Being a wine industry professional I had boycotted this place ever since it first opened because they told me they didn't honor the standard "Industry Discount". Who does that? Seriously its part of the biz, and is very bad PR, as several other insiders also have avoided it for the same reason. But for my sister-in-law's 21 birthday this was the place she wanted to go for her first Napa Valley wine tasting, so I acquiesced.

What I found was quite a different story! Not only did they MORE than exceed my expectations, but we received "royal" treatment from our fantastic tour guide Joe! (Dario, he deserves a raise)

The castle was stunning, and wines were very nicely done! We snagged up 6 for our collection, including the Reserve Super Tuscan.

Ok Sattui, your off my list now! We'll add this to our "must see" list for visiting guests.

Thank ndizzle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Rafael, CA
1 review
“Looking For The Prince?”
Reviewed September 15, 2009

When I was a little girl my favorite fairy tale was Cinderella. I memorized every word in that book. The Castello di Amorosa takes you back to a time where no other winery can take you. As you approach the Castle, you can actually feel and see a sense of authenticity that is hard to describe. Any minute you feel like the Prince will show up! It's no wonder...given the many thousands of bricks and other artifacts really are from European Castles (brought over during the 14 year period it took to built it). The heavy rustic doors and stones are magnificent. I take every special visitor to the Castle and it is by far their favorite and most memorable part of their Napa Valley wine experience. The tasting rooms are staffed with fun and knowledgeable personnel. One of my favorite parts of the Castle, besides the great wines and the incredible arched rooms with murals on the walls, are the roosters that are allowed to wander the grounds. If you don't go to any other winery in California, you must make time for this one...trust me, you will be happy you did! Besides, your Prince may sweep you off your feet there!

Thank Cinderella2255
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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