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Calistoga's Castello di Amorosa invests in solar, wastewater recycling

Castello di Amorosa, an authentic, 13th century medieval Tuscan castle, is known as one of the most popular tourist destinations Upvalley for winetasting. Now, it’s gaining a reputation as a nearly fully sustainable winery.

“I have been environmentally conscious since I was very young,” said owner Dario Sattui. “We set up the winery with that in mind from the beginning. We recycle everything, including the water now.”

The castle spans 131,000-square feet and sits on three acres. The winery is Napa Green certified and produces 250,000 gallons of wine per year.

When faced with the drought quandary in 2015, Sattui invested $1.2 million into a wastewater reclamation system that, he said, would never pay for itself.

Why? “Because it’s the right thing to do.”

The BioMicrobics, Inc. system is designed to reclaim 100% of the wastewater generated by winemaking. It uses a microfiber filtration system that renders winery waste clean enough for agricultural use. It was built underground, except for five holding tanks.  

“Ten years ago, on warm days, we used 10,000 gallons of water on landscaping alone. Now, we use the reclaimed water on everything around the vineyard,” Sattui said.

Since coming online in 2017, the castle has saved 6 million gallons of water. Reclaimed water accounts for 85% of water used throughout winter months for landscaping, and 25% during summer months. The remainder of the water used comes from the well or spring-fed lake on the property. No county water is used and there are no county pipes to the land.

Sattui also recently added Solar panels, which supplies 50% of the winery’s power. They are currently being landscaped to eventually “disappear” from view.

He also invested “a large sum of money” in a new recycling company in Rohnert Park, with the hope that it succeeds. Resynergi converts typically non-recyclable plastics into fuel and chemical products, as an alternative to refined oil products.

Land preservation is also a part of the plan. Sattui points out Napa Valley is the “last principally agricultural county in Northern California,” which prompted him, in the late 1990’s, to donate 700 acres to the Napa Valley Land Trust.

“I’m a no growth rather than slow growth guy. I’ve been here for 50 years and don’t want to be a part of the destruction,” Sattui said. He also recently put 77 acres into the Anderson Valley Land Trust because “it’s the right thing to do.”

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