While there are hundreds of wineries in the Napa Valley, tasting wine in a castle somehow makes the experience more fun. In Calistoga there are three distinct wineries offering tours and tastings, to be experienced in their castle facilities. Visit one or all three on your next Napa Valley trip.
Chateau Montelena: Located in a stone castle in the heart of Calistoga, this winery was made famous for winning the Paris Wine Tasting, in a blind tasting of its Chardonnay in 1976, putting the Napa Valley on the world’s wine map. This also happens to be a historic winery, founded in 1882. Today it is still a family-owned winery. Cozy up to the wooden bar and taste all of their delicious wine. In addition to their famous Chardonnay, they also offer an Estate Cabernet, a Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, and Riesling. Wander around to see the signed barrel from the cast of the film Bottle Shock and view the empty bottle from the Paris Wine Tasting. They have beautiful grounds worth exploring. Bring a picnic to enjoy by Jade Lake, while watching the swans glide by, while sipping their wine.
Sterling Vineyards: Take the aerial tram up the mountain to the hill-top of the stunning white stucco winery inspired by Greek architecture form the island of Mykonos. The bells were reclaimed from a London Church and toll every quarter hour. They have expansive views of the valley from many locations on their property. The patio is a wonderful place to enjoy the sunshine and savor a taste of their wine. It is also the location for many of their events. Participate in their informative self-guided tour which guides you through the winery and their wine-making operations. At the end of the tour, you are rewarded by a seated tasting in their lovely tasting room. There are several upgraded tastings available depending on your interest. They host imaginative events for their wine club members including Greek and Hawaiian themed parties, as well as food and wine events, including an annual lobster feed.
Castello di Amorosa: This 13th century Tuscan castle is perched atop Diamond Mountain. Sign up for the Tour and Tasting which lasts approximately 2 hours to see the 107-room castle while gaining insights from a guide about the history of the building, the owner’s vision and how wine is produced. After the tour, you will sample their exceptional wine with a new appreciation for how it is made. Their wine is only available at the winery, so joining their wine club makes a lot of sense, to receive discounts on purchases and invites to their fun events. Read about more ways to explore the Castello and their upcoming wine club events.
Stay: Indian Springs Resort & Spa in Calistoga is one of the oldest resorts in this spa town. Indulge in their signature Mud Bath treatment and massage, to be relaxed for days. Unwind in the Olympic mineral pool fed from their own hot springs, kept at a soothing temperature between 92-102 degrees. Enjoy the rooms with comfortable beds, luxury linens, cozy robes and soft pillows for an excellent night of sleep. The soothing sound of water can be heard throughout the resort, creating a sense of tranquility. Sip a glass of wine on the lush grounds or on your private patio. You may find it hard to leave the resort to take advantage of all of the activities close-by. Read more about why Indian Springs is the place for revitalization.
The town of Calistoga has restaurants, nightlife, shops and tasting rooms all worth exploring. Read about why Calistoga is Napa Valley’s favorite spa town and all of the things to see and do while visiting.
Getting there: Calistoga is approximately a two-hour drive from San Francisco; from the Sonoma County Airport, it is a forty-five minute drive.
©Karla Erovick 2012 article
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