Before our unforgettable Trafalgar Tours farewell dinner we had one last winery to visit. What I love most about Napa Valley, as opposed to other destinations saturated with wineries, is that each winery has its own uniqueness — something special that helps to separate it apart from the rest. They definitely do not blend together and this is certainly the case for Castello di Amorosa, a Medieval-style Tuscan castle and winery.
We were given a private guided tour of the sprawling 171-acre property, which includes 8 levels and 107 rooms. We also learned about its infamous owner, Dario Sattui, who is a 4th generation vintner and is obsessed with a particular 13th-century stone castle in Italy. He has spent over a decade of his life trying to make Castello di Amorosa an exact and authentic replica of this beloved castle and has done an extraordinary job thus far.
During our wine tasting we were informed that their secret to good wine is to combine traidtional wine making methods with modern technology, which in turn produces California wines that tastes similar to Italian wines. The perfect mix if you ask me!
Again, our stay there was too brief, but our Travel Director wanted to show us the “Hidden Treasure” for the Napa Valley portion of our trip. As previously mentioned, on every Trafalgar Tours guided vacation, guests are taken on a surprise adventure to a place that they would never experience traveling on their own. Our hidden treasure was the CIA, aka the Culinary Institute of America. Our stop had nothing to do with food though, we were there too see the world’s largest corkscrew collection. Of course, my favorite corkscrew was the golden elephant!
Our evening ended at Ramekins Culinary School, where we were split into groups for a hands-on cooking class. With top chef instructions, we created a 4-course gourmet meal for ourselves to enjoy.
I would be lying if I did not admit that I was apprehensive about this experience. Me and cooking just do not go well together, however 1) I am always up for a challenge and 2) we were given plenty of champagne before we began. My group was in charge of preparing the appetizers: crispy wonton cups with apple and brie.
I found it nearly impossible to not want to eat the ingredients before using them for their intended purpose, but I did my best to resist. Surprisingly, the wonton cups were easy to make and everyone seemed to love them. For dinner, I was served a four cheese ravioli dish and for dessert a New York cheesecake with cherry Merlot sauce.
In between bites, me and some of the other amazing female journalists in the group decided to pose for a quick photo opp (left to right: @andiperullo, @butterflydiary, @andi_fisher, @abbytegnelia, @cheryltiu, @lieselhlista).
I did not think it was possible for me to fall more in love with Trafalgar Tours, but I did. Without a doubt, I think they have amassed the best travel company in the world and I highly recommend treating yourself to one of their guided vacations. I also recommend staying a few extra days in one of the many gorgeous Napa Valley vacation rentals. There is so much to do and see there, that you will be grateful for the extra time!