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Napa winery offers $20k ‘connoisseurs’ tour

A Napa winery has launched a $20,000 wine tour, offering an exclusive peek inside the walls of its replica 13th century medieval castle.

Castello di Amorosa (Photo: Castello di Amorosa)

Dubbed “the ultimate wine connoisseur stocking stuffer”, Castello di Amorosa in St Helena has put together a package costing US$20,000 per couple, which starts with being transported to the winery by limousine from anywhere in Napa or Sonoma to the Castello estate.

Owned by Dario Sattui, a 4th-generation Italian winemaker and entrepreneur, Castello di Amorosa opened for business in 2007, fulfilling his dream of building an “authentic medieval Italian Tuscan castle” and winery in the US.

Set across its 121,000 square feet are 107 rooms, 90 of which are devoted to winemaking and storage, and a Great Hall with two-story replica Tuscan frescoes painted by Italian artists and a 500-year old fireplace. Built from 8,000 tons of hand-chiseled stones, the building is set over eight levels and features a drawbridge, dungeon and even torture chamber among numerous cellars.

Upon arriving at its gates, the couple will be welcomed at the castle’s drawbridge with a ceremonial “key” to the Castello and a silver-plated Tastevin by owner Dario Sattui and/or President Georg Salzner. Following a sparkling wine reception in the estate’s north tower, the couple will be taken on a tour of the winery by its sommelier, taking in its torture chamber and chapel.

The rest of the day will include the following extravagances:

  • Single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon tasting from barrels with the estate’s director of winemaking Brooks Painter.
  • The chance to create your own “Super Tuscan” wine in a private blending seminar with winemaker Peter Velleno.
  • A tasting of rare wines from the estate’s wine library
  • Lunch prepared by a private chef, served in the winery’s Royal Apartment.
  • Reserve tastings of the Castello’s finest wines paired with locally-produced Belgian truffles

The day will be captured by a photographer who will accompany the couple on the day and provide a photo album documenting their visit.

Following a day at the winery, the couple will be afforded one night’s stay at the Solage Calistoga Resort, and be granted a year’s membership to Castello’s Cinquecento Club, which includes two seats at its annual dinner with Castello di Amorosa owner Dario Sattui.

Following their opulent experience, the couple will not leave empty handed, taking with them a barrel of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (288 bottles), with a personalised label on each bottle, as well as an empty French oak barrel. Additional gifts include a set of 12 Rene Gabriel-Glas Austrian wine glasses and a box of 15 Montecristo Platinum Collection cigars. To commemorate their visit, a barrelhead will also be branded with the couple’s name.

Launched on Thursday, the pricey tour has not yet had any takers.

“It only seems appropriate that a winery in Napa Valley steps up to offer a no-holds-barred, luxury experience as a holiday gift,” Sattui said in a press release announcing the tour.

“I spent 14 years creating this dream of a Tuscan castle in the middle of Napa Valley and I know from hundreds of letters over the years that there are many people who can’t get enough of the experience of visiting – that was how we were inspired to put this together.”

Castello runs alternative “ultimate” packages ranging in price from $1,000, $3,000, $5,000 and $10,000, with regular tours and tastings priced at $25 for general admission and $40 for a 60-minute guided tour and 45-minute tasting.

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