Napa Valley, located in Napa County, the land of wine, with its beautiful landscape, is a must-visit when in California, especially if spending a few days in San Francisco.
For those who don’t want to do a google search or check out what Wikipedia has on Napa Valley, here are some information:
Napa Valley is considered one of the premier wine regions in the world. Records of commercial wine production in the region date back to the nineteenth century, but premium wine production dates back only to the 1960s.
The combination of Mediterranean climate, geography and geology of the region are conducive to growing quality wine grapes. John Patchett established the Napa Valley’s first commercial vineyard in 1858. In 1861 Charles Krug established another of Napa Valley’s first commercial wineries in St. Helena.
The valley floor is flanked by the Mayacamas Mountain Range on the western and northern sides the Vaca Mountains on the eastern side. Several smaller valleys exist within these two ranges. The floor of the main valley gradually rises from sea level at the southern end to 362 feet (110 m) above sea level at the northern end in Calistoga at the foot of Mount Saint Helena. The Oakville and Rutherford American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) lie within a geographical area known as the Rutherford Bench in the center of the valley floor.
Click here for the official website of Castello di Amorosa.
Of course, Wikipedia has more information on the castle/winery. Here’s a bit:
Castello di Amorosa is a castle and a winery located near Calistoga, California. First opening its doors to the public in April 2007, the castle is the pet project of 4th generation vintner, Dario Sattui, who also owns and operates the V. Sattui Winery named after his great-grandfather who originally established a winery in San Francisco in 1885 after emigrating from Italy to California.
The winery sits on property that was once part of an estate owned by Edward Turner Bale.
The castle interiors, which include 107 rooms on 8 levels above and below ground, cover approximately 121,000 square feet (11,200 m2). Key details and building techniques are architecturally faithful to the 12th and 13th century time period. Among many other features it has: a moat; a drawbridge; defensive towers; an interior courtyard; a torture chamber; a chapel/church; a knights’ chamber; and a 72 by 30 feet (9.1 m) great hall with a 22-foot (6.7 m)-high coffered ceiling.
My interim itinerary had us going straight to San Francisco and one sight-seeing day would have been dedicated to the trip to Napa Valley. The change in plans, going to Sacramento first, prompted me to scrutinize the map and it was decided that we would stay for one night as close to Napa as possible, provided we could find an inexpensive accommodation.
I found American Canyon.
I booked at the ever reliable Holiday Inn, but in the Express, where a huge family room was extremely reasonably priced.
I had installed Expedia for this trip. I suppose I am a scourer in more ways than one – dishes and bargain. In this case, bargain hunter appliances, not dish cleaner. Haha!
We drove from Sacramento to American Canyon. It is about an hour or so of relaxed driving and the scenery is lovely enough. Because we had spent the whole day in Sacramento, we arrived in American Canyon in the evening and did not do anything. My father went to the shopping center right by the hotel and gave us feedback that he almost thought he was home (Philippines, not Botswana) because he saw many Filipinos and heard them speaking the [Filipino] language. We are everywhere! 🙂
Refreshed, dressed and nourished, we were on our way to find a winery.
Along the St. Helena Highway
We didn’t leave the hotel early enough to be able to say we definitely seized the day, which was expected because 3 people – 2 children (toddler and young adult) and I – are not morning people. Therefore, we had to stop for a quick bite [for lunch] before we decided on where we would be tasting wine. This stop was part of the adventure as so many tourists stop here and I’d say that it was fun to watch people.
We decided on Castello di Amorosa, which was first on my list. It didn’t look like we could go to other places although I would have loved to visit more wineries. My crowd wasn’t made up of wine people. Perhaps next time. Wine tasting was also quite pricey.
The Castle (Winery) / Castle Grounds
Inside the Castle / Great Hall
Up in the Castle / View from the Top
Having visited some wine farms in the Western Cape, except for the fact that Castello di Amorosa is actually a castle, South Africans can be proud of what we have in the magnificent Cape. But, I did love my visit in Napa and would love to go back and stay longer. Again, as with Pasadena and Sacramento, I would not mind living in Napa Valley. Of course, that could be a little more challenging now with Trump as the new President of the USA.
And then we were on our way out of the valley to the City of San Francisco.