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New tasting room experience

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stebro Aug 1, 2007 12:26 PM

My wife and I visted Castello di Amorosa last week. It's fairly new, owned by Daryl Sattui and located across from Sterling in St. Helena. Looks like a medieval castle with turrets, a dungeon, grand ballroom, etc. When we went to the tasting room, there was a cashier outside selling tickets for $10 and $20 (reserve) per tasting. I asked for one ticket thinking we would share a glass as we often do. The cashier informed me that, if we bought only one ticket, one of us would have to wait outside. She told us that, if we bought two tickets and one of us did not taste wine, we could apply the cost of the second ticket to a purchase of wine. I explained that we had never tasted their wine and were not ready to commit to a purchase. The cashier said "then you're out of luck." I asked for my $10 back and left the tasting room. I later confirmed that this, in fact, is the policy of the winery.

I've visited literally hundreds of wineries and virtually all of them have encouraged sharing. With the increasing prices that wineries now charge for tastings and the need to limit the amount of alcohol if you're driving, sharing makes a lot of sense. Let's hope the Castello di Amorosa policy isn't part of a new trend.

  1. Robert Lauriston Aug 1, 2007 12:56 PM

    Sounds like more of a tourist trap than a winery, just like V. Sattui.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Robert Lauriston
      bernalgirl Aug 1, 2007 01:25 PM

      I agree, I have never encountered a winery in California that discouraged or penalized shared tastings. Even J Winery is happy to split its food/wine pairing. Thanks for the note to avoid Castello di Amorosa -- although I have a feeling that I'm not their target group and they'll be swarmed with buses soon enough.

    2. laaronson Aug 1, 2007 04:32 PM

      that sucks and i immediately compare this to the OTHER end of the spectrum....Rochioli, one fantastic producer, still open 7/days week and still offers complimentary tasting of 2 current releases, even though their wine is in short supply.

      I know that for some wineries, it's difficult not to charge for tastings but I do cherish the old guard who still offer this gratis and to me, it speaks volumes to their conversion rate....the wine speaks for itself and ya buy it, thank you very much.

      ps - Rochioli just released their sauv blanc ($24) and their "special release" pinot ($32; a lighter style) so you can get a case of each right now - a great time to visit this beautiful place...purchase quantities decline with their inventory. Both are very tasty.

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