Ledson Winery's tasting room looks like a European castle.

The Most Beautiful
Wine Castles In Wine Country

European style in California sunshine? Experience it yourself at these gorgeous castles in nearby wine country.

Just one hour north of San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge, California's spectacular wine country features European-style wine country grand chateaux, villas, and even castles that are a pleasure to see and visit.

Here are 10 wine castles and chateaux to inspire the imagination. 

4045 St. Helena Hwy., Calistoga

Castello di Amorosa

A great example of medieval architecture, Castello di Amorosa ("castle of love" in Italian) is a stunning 13th-century-style Tuscan castle in the Napa Valley that brings to mind a fairytale adventure. What was originally intended as an 8,500-square-foot building transformed into a 121,000-square-foot castle with over 100 rooms and antique bricks brought in from Europe.

Learn about the history of the castle, the tower, the Great Hall with frescoes inspired by Italian masterpieces, and the 12,000-square-foot Barrel Room with a hand-crafted tasting bar. Castello di Amorosa offers several wine tasting tours, from the Standing Reserve Tasting ($50 per person) to a Luxury Tour & Tastings (starting at $1,050 for two). In the summer months, cool off in the cellar and be sure to stop at the gift shop for refined gift boxes and award-winning wines.

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1429 Tubbs Lane, Calistoga

Chateau Montelena

The story of Chateau Montelena is legendary. At the historic 1976 Paris Wine Tasting, also known as the Judgment of Paris, white wines produced by Chateau Montelena won first place over nine other French and American white wines in a blind tasting. The wine world was shocked and it put Chateau Montelena at the top for global wines. Founded in 1882, the chateau has a castle-like feel. Take time during your visit to stroll the grounds and see the pond and beautiful vineyards.

If you can't make the trip to Calistoga, there is a Chateau Montelena wine tasting room in the lobby of the Westin St. Francis hotel on Union Square in San Francisco. Open daily from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m., settle into their cozy, casual space for A Taste of Montelena (walk-ins only). They offer the same daily tastings as the main winery in Calistoga at an affordable $40 per person, seated table or standing bar. (A tasting costs $55 per person at the Calistoga location.) Taste their flagship cabernet or Chardonnay classic, an iconic wine made in an old world style with California fruits. 

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8555 Sonoma Hwy., Kenwood

Chateau St. Jean

Nestled among acres of vineyard, and beneath the dramatic volcanic cones of Sugarloaf Ridge State Park in the Sonoma Valley, Chateau St. Jean might easily be mistaken for a monastery in the French Alps. The buff-colored walls and red tile roof of Chateau St. Jean evoke the monastic tradition of winemaking.

Built in the 1970s, the Chateau is named after a woman named Jean. Dwarf orange trees and roses grace the Mediterranean-style courtyard garden, a nice place to stroll or sit.

Savor wines in the main tasting room or outdoors near the rose garden; or sip limited releases in the reserve wines room in the adjacent chateau, which is actually a 1920s vacation home that preceded the winery. Stroll the Mediterranean-styled gardens, which are considered some of the most beautiful in Sonoma County. Enjoy a flight of wines paired with delicious local cheeses (French-inspired cheeses are available for purchase), served on the romantic chateau patio.

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1240 Duhig Rd., Napa

Domaine Carneros

Domaine Carneros is an elegant, French-inspired chateau situated between the towns of Sonoma and Napa. Established in 1987 by the wine family behind Champagne Taittinger in France, Domaine Carneros stands out for their exceptional sparkling wines and ornamental formal gardens. 

Views from the outdoor terrace stretch across the surrounding vineyards and rolling hills. Choose from a wine tasting flight, caviar flight, or optional cheese and charcuterie selections, then unwind for a memorable day in an extraordinary setting.

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8761 Dry Creek Rd., Healdsburg

Ferrari-Carano Vineyards & Winery

For wine castle Italian-style, visit Ferrari-Carano's Villa Fiore amid the winery's Dry Creek Valley home.

Tea gardens invite strolling on the grounds, while downstairs, the Villa's atmospherically-illuminated barrel room is one of the most evocative of Europe. 

The best wine tasting is in the adjacent Enoteca wine tasting bar in a dramatic underground cellar. For guests over age 21, Ferrari-Carano offers special wine tastings, such as a Sunday Wine & Brunch and "Holiday at the Estates."

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300 Via Archimedes, Geyserville

Francis Ford Coppola Winery

This Second French Empire-styled chateau, Francis Ford Coppola Winery, is set among low woodland hills in the Alexander Valley.

There's a bit of Denmark here, too, in that director Francis Ford Coppola's renovation of the former Chateau Souverain called for an amusement park theme that echoes Copenhagen's famed Tivoli Gardens.

Under its mansard roof and towers, modified with glass pyramid peaks by Coppola, the winery houses the director's movie memorabilia, including movie mobster Vito Corleone's desk, "heads" from "Apocalypse Now", and the fully-rigged model warship from Sofia Coppola's "Marie Antoinette."

Take in their Bocce & Wine Experience (they have four full-size bocce courts). The restaurant and terrace sport a terrific Alexander Valley view, and the poolside reservation system ensures that everyone is treated to their own chaise lounge and umbrella. Special annual events include a Holiday Open House, a great chance to stock up for the holiday on wine and gifts. 

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23555 Arnold Dr., Sonoma

Gloria Ferrer Winery

This winery, set in the rolling hills of the Carneros region in southern Sonoma County, was designed to evoke both the historical California missions and the heritage of its Catalonian family, owners of the Freixenet cava brand.

Gloria Ferrer makes some of Sonoma County's most popular sparkling wines. Take the Classic Carneros Tasting Experience and then settle on the outdoor terrace to enjoy sparkling wine flights and optional light snacks for purchase.

Recognized for their commitment to sustainability, Gloria Ferrer has achieved Silver Medal status with International Wineries for Climate Action.  

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1474 Alexander Valley Rd., Healdsburg

Jordan Vineyard & Winery

Dressed in lush, green ivy and fringed with perfectly trimmed privets, Jordan very much appears like the Bordeaux chateau that Tom Jordan aimed to purchase before settling in the Alexander Valley. It was a good move. Currently managed by son John Jordan, Jordan's Cabernet Sauvignon often ranks among American restaurateurs' favorite brands.

Take in the view from the upstairs library, then enter a dimly lit parlor for a tasting seminar, with wine paired with gourmet bites from the chef. 

Thoroughly modern in their outlook, Jordan is a solar-powered winery, manages sustainable gardens, and offers a walking wine tour and tasting experience that stretches from Jordan's oak tank room outside to the gardens and vineyards. In early December, they hold a festive Holiday Tour & Tasting. Savor the chance to taste current releases paired with hors d'oeuvres by Executive Chef Daniel Beal. 

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5007 Fulton Rd., Santa Rosa

Kendall-Jackson Wine Estate & Gardens

Celebrated for their lush Chardonnay wines, Kendall-Jackson is an ideal spot for a day spent with friends or out-of-town guests. With a comfortable terrace and culinary gardens offering a bounty of colors and flavors, KJ is the place to indulge in wine and food.

Partake in either their Estate Tasting or Garden Tour & Tasting culinary experience (advance reservations required). You might even meet one of the chefs! They also offer picnic tables and garden-side bocce courts 'til the sun goes down.

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7335 Highway 12, Kenwood

Ledson Winery & Vineyards

Ledson stands out among Sonoma County's wine castles because of its perfect pairing of gothic spires and archways with the rugged, mountainous backdrop of this particularly scenic stretch of the Sonoma Valley.

The style is French Normandy and it was originally built as a family residence. So many would-be wine tasters drove up to check it out, however, that the owner took the hint and opened his winery's tasting room here. Select from either seated tastings, private wine tastings, or a classic tasting at one of three bars in the castle.

Inside, it's handsomely furnished, has private rooms, a second-floor seating area with rooms named after family members, and a full deli. Picnic grounds are under the oaks.

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Carol High
Carol High

Carol is a digital marketer creating media-rich content for global audiences covering travel, San Francisco and the Bay Area, food & drink, outdoor experiences, and cross-cultural storytelling. Her work is found in the San Mateo Daily Journal and The Skyline View (Skyline College). Before travel writing, her professional background included working internationally in business, nonprofits, and government. She lives in San Francisco with her family and regularly explores the parks in her city, especially untamed McLaren Park.