Napa Valley is about an hour and a half drive from our house. I've visited Napa Valley many times, sampled many wines and taken many many pictures of the beautiful wineries and landscape. Yet, it is not my favorite wine destination. Napa has become overly touristy and very expensive. If you want to sample a couple of sips of the Napa wine, it will easily cost you $9. An average bottle of wine runs about $20. Sonoma Valley or Livermore are more affordable and less crowded. My favorite wine region is Mendoza region of Argentina: the wines are excellent (Malbec is their specialty), and very afforadable. Sampling several glasses of wine at a winery cost you about 4 pesos, or $1.50.
Our trip this weekend to Napa Valley did not have wine in mind. We were invited to visit Castello di Amorosa. The castle hasn't opened yet to the public, though a friend of mine knows the owner Daryl Sattui (who is also the owner of V. Sattui winery). The castle is inspired on a Tuscan castle and is unbelievable. This is not a Vegas style copy of a castle with fake walls. No no noo, real walls built with stones of Europe and real painted walls (as a matter of fact artists were working still on the wallpaintings in the church). The many caves are already filled with barrels of wine and we encountered a small gathering in a small back room, three levels down, sampling some of the wine. Check out the links below to see some of the pictures inside. I did take a couple of pictures, but my camera does do well in poor light. (Plus it doesn't feel right to publish pictures before it is officially ready.).