Castello di Amorosa was named “Best Tasting Room 2019” on Friday, receiving top honors in USA Today’s 10Best Readers’ Choice Award.
The Calistoga landmark is a 13th century Tuscan castle and winery and is a popular visitor attraction.
“When we opened the doors almost 13 years ago, I wondered how my castle would be received, as it was so unorthodox a concept,” said owner Dario Sattui. “It was a great honor to be nominated (for the award) by a panel of wine industry experts, and it was quite humbling, actually, when we learned we were named the Best Tasting Room.”
Sattui was joined by winery president Georg Salzner and a dozen or more other employees who celebrated the news on the drawbridge to the castle on Friday. The news was also hearalded by Calistoga High School students Christian Pedersen and Aaron Heth, who played a trumpet fanfare. Pedersen’s mother, Nina Pedersen, is the CJHS music teacher and arranged for their performance.
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Nominees for all of the 10Best 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 winery was nominated by wine industry experts, and was ultimately voted on by the public.
“I think we give a very nice experience, we have good wines at fair prices, and people go out of their way to come to the castle, for the most part for the architecture, and the detail it has,” Sattui said. “I really tried to make it as authentic as I could.”
Sattui said he knew children would enjoy the castle, but was surprised at how much adults like it as well.
“It’s such a romantic venue. I think some people are predisposed to buy our wine before they ever taste it just because of it,” he said.