My husband had planned a surprise for Saturday morning, my actual birthday.  He and our friends convinced me to get up early and “beat the rush” — I am a morning person and I thought, hey, if you want to get up at 6am too, whatever.  Well, the three of them were in on the secret, which was a balloon ride!

Unfortunately, Calistoga was very foggy that morning so it was canceled.  Boo.  Hiss.  At which point my husband told me of the plans and I was disappointed but not as much as the three of them, who were so excited over the balloon ride.  Oh well.  It was a super sweet plan and someday we’ll go up and see the sights from way up high.

Instead, we ended up going to a winery I’d been wanting to visit for a while.  If you ever get a chance, you should visit Castello di Amorosa.

image above from destination 360.com

Dario Sattui, owner of V. Sattui, built this castle in the style of a medieval Italian castle, and only produces Italian style wines.  You can read the story here.  It is quite historically accurate – following modern codes and regulations, of course – and it was nice to see details like the one my husband pointed out; a warming fire used to heat the rocks that made up the walls and then that heat would radiate into the rooms, making them cozier.

This place is breathtaking, and to someone who a) likes wine, and b) is a history addict, visiting Castello de Amorosa was a great experience.

My husband at the entrance of the castle.

The banquet room

My husband chose to have the wine & chocolate tasting.  Honestly, this day just kept getting better and better!  Our guide, Alene, was awesome, full of information, engaging, etc.  After the tasting, we headed over to Joseph Phelps because our friends C&D had set up a tasting for us there.

I’ll tell you more about it tomorrow 😀

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