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New Calistoga tasting room a possible game-changer for Lincoln Avenue

What Calistoga officials not too long ago described as an “eyesore” is now a first-class wine tasting room, promising to elevate the eastern gateway to Calistoga, on Lincoln Avenue.

Owner Mario Sculatti and his business partner, Trevor Mallett, have transformed Roam Antiques into Vault Wine + Artifacts, with a mix of American and European antiques, and offering a variety of Napa Valley wines.

The building’s industrial nature has been masked with velvet chairs and original glass-blown lighting fixtures, adding to the luxurious ambiance, along with new landscaping and a flagstone patio out front.   

Sculatti has also added two more glass-paned garage doors to the original one, which allows for a wide entrance space into an interior that is both opulent and inviting, with an already lived-in feel.

“We used reclaimed materials wherever we could. As an antique guy I love history, and I love patina,” Sculatti said. “This is my version of a really cool industrial, historical space.”

The center of the tasting room is dominated by a show-stopper of a Roman press, with a limestone basin. The limestone is from Italy, and the press itself could have come from Austria or Italy, Sculatti said. Another press bears an inscription in German, which translates as “In good times and in bad times we still make red and white wine.”  

“Our idea was to offer this awesome collection of great, Napa Valley wines, surrounded by historical, winemaking artifacts,” he said.

Sculatti operated Roam for about five years as an antique shop, and Vault is now the sister property to Sculatti’s Rutherford Wine Vault, a vintner and collector storage space with a members-only lounge.

There are still wine-related antiques for sale at Vault, like Sculatti’s corkscrew collection, highlighted in a large glass display case. “I’ve been a corkscrew collector for too long,” he said.  

The biggest pieces are not for sale, he said, “because I love them way too much.”

The Sculatti family has deep roots in Napa Valley. He grew up in St. Helena and his ancestors were “straight off the boat from Italy,” he said, and went to work in St. Helena vineyards. His great-grandfather was a sharecropper on a vineyard that is now Bill Harlan’s Napa Valley Reserve, and his grandfather planted and managed all of Beringer’s holdings. Sculatti’s father, Ron, also helped create the Chateau Montelena Chardonnay that won the historic 1973 Paris tasting, he said.

The family has also owned two retail stores in St. Helena for about the last 40 years. Sculatti himself as has built his winery brand, along with Wheeler Farms in St. Helena. He and his wife and son now reside on a ranch in Pope Valley.

The wines in Sculatti’s collection range from entry level to reserve, with a Zinfandel at $28 a bottle, a Chardonnay at $10 a glass, and coming soon a $250 bottle of wine, he said.

No food service is offered at Vault, for now, but patrons have the option of a variety of experiences, from wine by the glass, or entire winery portfolio tastings.

There is also a private room at Vault, for a party of eight or less, that includes a secret door disguised as a large mirror. It leads to a library, for future use as a private tasting room. The room also holds an old display case Sculatti acquired from Steves Hardware’s Gary Menegon in St. Helena. The case is imprinted with the name Fisher, and as it turns out, is from a Calistoga jewelry store dating back to 1910.

Sculatti said his vision for the future of the tasting room includes fun wine release events featuring antique cars, another of his passions.

You can reach Cynthia Sweeney at 942-4035 or csweeney@weeklycalistogan.com.

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