A month after crashing his bike near his winery, Castello di Amorosa near Calistoga, vintner Dario Sattui continues to recuperate from neck surgery at his Upvalley home.

“I’m better every day,” said Sattui, who now wears a neck brace and uses a walker.

On Jan. 29, Sattui said he was still jet-lagged after returning from a tour of Vietnam when he went on a 10-mile morning bike ride alone in the hillside near his house.

Returning from Diamond Mountain Road, he had reached Highway 29 when he may have hit a piece of wood and crashed, he said. A carpenter found him unconscious along the highway and called 911.

Sattui, 72, who suffered broken bones, face lacerations and other injuries, was transported to St. Helena Hospital. He was then transferred by ambulance to UC San Francisco Medical Center where he said he underwent a five-hour operation to repair four bones on his neck and receive a bone graft from his lower back in the process. Twelve screws were inserted in his neck, he said.

“Not fun,” Sattui said.

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Sattui said he stayed at the hospital for about a week. His girlfriend, Irina Yartseva, stood by his side the entire time. “She’s a great woman,” Sattui said.

He continues to work from his home office, though he stopped by Castello di Amorosa, his Tuscan-style winery/castle, for the first time in four weeks on Tuesday. To exercise his muscles, Sattui said he walks three miles a day with a walker around his porch.

“He always pushes himself,” Yartseva said.

Sattui’s said his riding days are over. “I’ll walk or swim in the future,” he said.


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