Castello Di Amorosa

La Castellana - Wine Profile - Brooks Painter


As an "Amici del Barone" - Friend of the Baron - Wine Club member, we invite you to enjoy our hand-crafted Italian style wines at home all year long. We have several wine clubs from which you may choose; each one a different offering to suit your taste. Visit our authentically-built, 13th century inspired Tuscan castle and winery in world famous Napa Valley. Explore multiple levels of the castle and enjoy a tasting of our Italian-style wines, found exclusively at the Castello.

Location Description

Located in the heart of Calistoga, California.


  • One of the top destination wineries in the country.

Additional Information

  • Meeting / Conference Facilities:
  • Caves:
  • Wedding Facilities:
  • Picnic Facilities:
  • Dog Friendly:
  • Winery Tours:
  • Wine Tasting:
  • Art or Architecture:
  • Organic / Biodynamic:
  • Awards:
  • Wine Club:
  • Lodging / Bed & Breakfast:


Peter Velleno was born and raised in San Francisco where he and his two older brothers were the fifth generation of their family to be born in the city. He attended the University of California at Davis. He took one class in the University’s renowned Food Science department and quickly changed his major from Chemical Engineering to Fermentation Science. After intensive study in winemaking, brewing science, microbiology and food engineering, he earned a BS in Fermentation Science; the only student in the 2003 UC Davis graduation ceremony to receive such a degree.


Nearly twenty years ago, I purchased the spectacular property upon which I built Castello di Amorosa. It sat on a hundred-seventy beautiful acres of forest and hills with a stream, a lake, one of the first houses built in Napa County and a great Victorian home where I chose to live. It was my dream property, culminating a search of many years. The purchase also came with a great building permit for a large winery building which had taken the previous owner thirteen years to obtain.

At first, I had no intention of starting another winery- I already had V.Sattui. My plan was only to replant historic vineyards there. However, throughout my adult life, I had been fascinated with Italian medieval architecture; and, because of my passion- some would say obsession- I had already bought a handful of ancient properties in Italy, including a small castle near Florence (now sold), a medieval monastery near Siena (now being refurbished) and a Medici palace in southern Tuscany, which we are remodeling into a period hotel. You get the picture- it's an incurable malady.

My Ideas began to crystallize. I would specialize in making small lots of primarily Italian-style wines, showcase them in an authentic, medieval castle setting and sell them directly to the public, not in stores or restaurants. Since I have never had a television, I had a lot of time on my hands. In early 1994, I embarked on my project. Concurrently with replanting thirty acres of vineyard on the property Sangiovese, Cabernet and Merlot, I began drawing plans for the winery building.

The Team

Sebastiano Rosa, Consulting Winemaker:

Sebastiano Rosa, is the stepson of Nicolo Incisa della Rochetta whose family owns Sassicaia, brings an extensive wine background to the team. Upon graduating from UC Davis in 1990, Rosa participated in the 1991 harvest at the storied Château Lafite Rothschild.

Josémaria Delgado, Cellar Master:

Josémaria Delgado came to the United States from Mexico 17 years ago to study English. He was presented with the opportunity to work in the vineyards. Without hesitation, he accepted the opportunity, and quickly fell in love with the process of making wine. Shortly thereafter, he started working in the cellars of a number of Napa Valley wineries where he honed his skills and developed a passion for Bordaux style wines and Pinot Noir. Josémaria enjoys the details of making small lots of high quality Castello di Amorosa wines.

David Béjar, Vineyard Manager:

David Béjar brings over 40 years of experience to Castello di Amorosa. Born in Michoacan, Uruapan, David was just 8 years old when he began picking grapes at one of Ensenada's oldest wineries. David's father died when he was only 11, so he took up boxing at $8.00 a fight to supplement the family income. At the age of 16, after immigrating to the United States, he began to work as a tractor driver in Santa Rosa and continued to work his way up in the wine industry. Recruited by Dario Sattui in 1996, Béjar now manages over 300 acres of vineyards. He is responsible for the sustainable vineyard practices used at each site and provides the projections for the size of the harvest each season.

Practices & Techniques

Brooks Painter has been a winemaker for nearly 30 years. He has experience making ultra-premium varietal wines from throughout the many different grape-growing regions of California. His current position is Director of Winemaking for Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga, California. His previous position was Winemaking Operations Manager at Robert Mondavi Winery in Oakville, California, and Brooks was formerly with Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, Leeward Winery and Felton-Empire Vineyards.

Estate Vineyards / AVA

Castello di Amorosa vineyards are in the heart of the Diamond Mountain District, a nested American Viticultural Area (AVA) within the Napa Valley. Located east of highway 29 and just 3 miles south of the city of Calistoga, our 30 acres of vineyards surrounding the Castello are planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sangiovese and Primitivo.

Wine grapes, particularly Cabernet Sauvignon, are the true diamonds of this remarkable AVA. Covering 5,000 rocky acres in the Mayacamas Range on the northeast side of Napa Valley, this region has just over 500 acres under vine. Due to the up-valley location and the high elevation of vineyards, the fog that influences the valley floor is not a factor here. Our vineyards possess unique, porous volcanic soils. With vineyards high above the fog and facing west, Castello di Amorosa’s wine grapes receive an extended exposure to the sun assuring their full ripeness at harvest. Castello di Amorosa’s Cabernet Sauvignon wines and the Cabernets of this AVA are described as rich and powerful with chewy textures and diamond-hard tannins.



91 Points - Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media

"The 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon Il Barone is one of the leaner, more compact wines in the range. Floral and savory notes develop nicely in the bouquet, but then tannins clamp down hard on the mid palate, making it difficult for the fruit to fully emerge. With time in the glass, the wine opens up nicely, leading to a long, beautifully delineated finish laced with bright floral notes. The 2011 is sculpted and chiseled throughout. If opened within the next few years, the 2011 needs a good bit of air."


93 Points - James Suckling

"This is dense and intense with a beautiful velvety texture and ripe fruit, but it remains fresh and clean. Full body. Textured finish. Better in 2016."

92 Points - Virginie Boone, Wine Enthusiast Magazine

91-93 Points - Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media (Barrel Sample)

“The 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Il Barone is a darker, richer and ultimately more complete wine than the 2009. Sweet dark cherries, plums, menthol, spices, licorice and pine are just some of the notes that come to life in this beautifully delineated, articulate Cabernet Sauvignon. The fruit shows gorgeous vibrancy through to the finish. This is a promising showing. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2020.”

Double Gold Medal - 2014 American Fine Wine Competition

Gold Medal - 2014 San Francisco International Wine Competition

Gold Medal - 2014 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition


94 Points - Steve Heimoff, Wine Enthusiast Magazine

“An impressive Cabernet, flashy and dramatic in the “cult” style. It’s smooth and velvety, with imposingly rich tannins that frame, pure black currant, crème de cassis, dark chocolate and anise flavors. There’s a lot of oak, too, but it’s in keeping with the wine’s volume. Should develop over the next 15 years, but you can certainly drink it now.”

92 Points - Antonio Galloni

“The 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Il Barone is a beautifully focused wine graced with expressive dark berries, flowers, spices and mint. It reveals lovely focus and energy from start to finish. The mid-palate sweetness and generosity tapers off a bit on the finish, which is the only thing that keeps the score from going higher. The final blend includes 2% Petite Verdot. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2019.”

Double Gold Medal - 2013 American Fine Wine Competition


91 Points - Cabernet Shootout, Affairs of the Vine

“Smoky, cherry aromas. The nose is very pretty. The palate is complex – earthy with tart cranberry, cedar, chewy plum, and leather. The long finish shows lots of black cherry and a hint of blackjack chewing gum (anise-like). Lovely mouth watering acid. Bright cherry and raspberry on the nose. Nice balance of fruit and oak on the palate. Classic Cab style. Tobacco, cola, and black tea notes round out the mellow finish.” 287 wines tasted, Il Barone in the TOP 32.

92 Points - Robert Parker

“The 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Il Barone (91% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Merlot, and 4 % Petit Verdot) is a selection of the estate’s finest lots of Cabernet Sauvignon. Graphite, creame de cassis, black currant and spice box aromas jump from the glass of this opaque ruby/purple-colored 2008. Expansive, rich, authoritative and elegant, with impressive texture and length as well as sweet tannin, it will be even better in 3-4 years, and should last for 15+. Barrel samples of the 2009 Il Barone and 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon revealed well-endowed, deeply colored wines with sweet tannins. The both possessed all the components needed to be as good as their 2008 and 2007 counterparts, but it is too early to pass judgment.”

93 Points - International Wine Review

“The opaque ruby, slightly brooding Il Barone is the masculine counterpart to La Castellana showing inky aromas of black fruit with charred oak and violet notes. Made from 100 percent estate grown Cabernet Sauvignon, the wine shows great volume in the mouth, a smooth and beautifully structured palate with nice minerality and ripe, firm tannins on a very long finish. To be released in 2012, this wine has a long life ahead of it.

Gold Medal - 2012 American Fine Wine Competition

Double Gold Medal - 2013 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition


94 Points - Robert Parker

“The brilliant Il Barone boasts an opaque purple color as well as a beautiful sweet nose of blackberries, black currants, camphor, subtle toasty oak, and espresso roast. Rich and full-bodied with sweet tannin, a hint of smoked meats, deep fruit, and an impeccable balance, purity and texture, this stunning wine should drink nicely for 15-20 years.”

Napa Valley Vintners/Saint Helena Star Blind Taste Test

Top 3 Cabernet Sauvignon $95 in the Napa Valley


Double Gold Medal - 2011 American Fine Wine Competition


91 Points - International Wine Review

“The 2005 vintage of Il Barone exhibits a savory nose with herbal and violet notes and a gorgeous velvet-like palate of rich dark fruit with earth and pepper accents. Somewhat chalky tannins show on the mid-palate and the wine finishes with firm, dry tannins.”

Be the first to review this item!


Daily 9:30 am – 5:00 pm


4045 Saint Helena Hwy
Calistoga, California 94515
United States

Get Directions