If you happen to have an extra 80 million dollars laying around, buying the Castello Di Amorosa winery might be a good investment. If you don’t, spend the $50 each person for a tour and reserve tasting. It’s a good second place, perhaps.
This is the place you want to be in the time of a zombie apocalypse. First, and most obviously, you have WINE. They have lots of places to store. Even though the 2007 and 2008 (or was it 2012/2013?) batches were “trashed” because the owner didn’t like the product, they still have them all corked and ready to go in a pinch. So if you need to take a break from zombies, you can forget some snobby tendencies and drink that Cabernet if you are *forced* to. There are private areas with locks, but in times of desperation locks can be broken! Our guide did tell us that during the wildfires that some winery staff took refuge here.
Then, you have food. They host events monthly along with a dining area suited for meals. Better. Also? A drawbridge and bars to keep the zombies out. If they get in, you can use the iron maiden they have laying around, just in case.
But if you aren’t in a zombie apocalypse, it is still a pretty neat place. Their wine is pretty good, too. The owner also owns V Sattui. To say it is “sprawling” is an understatement. It’s 121,000 square feet with 107 rooms with four separate levels underground and four levels above. It was built with the intention of making it as close to a 13th century Italian castle as possible. That meant handmade bricks, pavement stones, built by hand. All murals are hand-painted. This is not the Disney-ation of a castle, for sure.
The tour is informative and as people who previously worked on Saturdays at a winery about 20 years ago, we geeked out for a bit. We asked questions from our previous lives even though the memory of winemaking was a bit cobwebby.
The tasting was a bit confusing and hurried. The group was large-ish and you have about 25 wines to choose from. Everyone with exception of one couple decided to do the Reserve experience so that meant more wines per person. The glasses were recycled which meant mixing of reds and white and if you decided to share with your partner, a lot of handprints, lip prints and mixing/matching. No bread in front of us and the chocolates were trombone wah waaaaaahhhhh. It would have been better if they changed out glasses or rinsed them out between each wine. Also, one tour guide with that many people doing so many tastings? While our guide was excellent, it was a big ask.
At the end of the tasting, our guide also mentioned the wine club. Okay, so truth time. You mention a club to us, we will probably want in, particularly when membership means “just buy some wine.” Of course, in the tastings, we found we liked the most expensive wines. The club (for full-time travelers) could be good or bad. You have a discount. It can be sent anywhere. If you are more local or happen to be in the area at the time, you also can attend the monthly events. Gotta admit – Halloween in a 121,000 square foot castle with wine does not sound like a bad deal.
We ended up buying a dozen bottles, a corkholder (just what every RVer needs!) and a rooster wine stopper/pourer. We argued with ourselves between the rooster (we like roosters, met one at our house once!) and gargoyle (we like gargoyles, never met one!). We chose poorly, as the rooster looks like he’s vomiting blood. For a gargoyle that would be cool. For a rooster it’s a little off-putting.
We’d go back just the view the grounds and the castle. But the wine isn’t bad either.
Details: Castello Di Amorosa