V. Sattui Winery
Not One Thing Is Surprising at V. Sattui,
Because Everything Is A Delightful Surprise
Before there was an Italian castle in Napa, there was an Italian monastery. Long before that – a very long time, some 132 years to be precise – in 1885 Vittorio Sattui established a wine company in San Francisco that became one of Napa’s treasured icons.
There’s a Party Going on at V. Sattui
It’s now an all-too-familiar scene for visitors to Napa. Drive along Highway 29 near St. Helena and you’ll notice what looks like a perpetual party going on at V. Sattui. What do all of those people know, and why are they at this winery, when there are so many choices in Napa? Truth is, there is something special going on here, and the proof is in the party. Come along for the happy energy, as well as the wine.
Drive in and you’ll find expansive grounds, featuring not just one but three tasting rooms, an artisan deli and a shopper’s bazaar of a Marketplace. The expansive grounds offer a touch of history, with old grape presses and winemaking equipment spotted about. And yes, the stone winery, constructed by Vittorio’s great grandson Dario in 1984, was inspired by and modeled after an Italian monastery. Some years later, he fulfilled another dream at Castello di Amoroso, V. Sattui’s sister enterprise, not far away. But that’s another visit.
The V. Sattui wines, produced mostly from 300 acres of estate vineyards, are sold only at the winery, with no national distribution. What you experience here is a revelation, featuring a wide array of wines from Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino, unusual in Napa Valley for the breadth and depth of the selections. Under the direction of long-time winemaking legend Brooks Painter, the 60 wines produced by V. Sattui are among the most awarded wines in competitions nationwide. From sparkling selections through dessert offerings, there are reserve selections and a knowledgeable group of wine educators (proudly called winetenders) behind the tasting bar to guide you in your explorations.
Pair a Picnic Right Here at the Winery
And while the wine’s the thing, to say that there is an artisan deli here doesn’t quite capture the import of what you’ll find. A cheese pairing? Of course, but on a grand scale, with more than 200 different selections to explore. Charcuterie prepared in the winery salumeria is available, along with freshly made salads, pastas, panini and sandwiches, often from local farmers and growers. Fruits of the season and house-made desserts including Italian-style gelato and tiramisu complete the menu.
Some weekends you’ll find the wood-fired Italian oven ablaze and the offerings grow to include notable thin crust pizzas made from your selection of toppings. Often, there are ribs, tri-tip and fresh salmon and for the brave, Jalapeno skewers. On the side (or as a main feature) try the house-pulled mozzarella, grilled bread and your choice of add-on sauces to highlight the visit.
Enjoy it all at several locations on the two-acre picnic grounds and not to worry, if the weather offers a bit of rain, the picnic moves indoors to the barrel room, where chandeliers grace a room with oak barriques and barrels.
No reservations are required for a Marketplace tasting, in the center of the action, where current releases are offered and your tasting includes five wines. For wine club members (and since these wines are only sold at the winery, joining the wine club makes sense if you’d like to continue to enjoy the wines at home) there are tastings in the Members Cellar Room. More focused tastings are offered on the Terrace, and a Fireside Cabernet tasting is staged in the Tower Tasting Room. For complete details on current opportunities, a quick visit to vsattui.com will show an array of choices, but at the winery, the options are easily explained.
Special Tours & Pairings
Tours are offered daily, but reservations are needed for the frequent departure times. On Saturdays, a unique blending seminar and a two-hour food and wine pairing deep dive are both offered, but space is limited, so book early.