Bio of Dario Sattui

By Jennifer Adams,2014-05-15 10:48
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Bio of Dario Sattui

    Bio of Dario Sattui

Dario Sattui, great-grandson of one of San Francisco’s pioneering vintners, Vittorio

    Sattui, was born in San Francisco in 1941 and raised in San Francisco and Marin County.

    Dario is the entrepreneur behind two successful Napa Valley wineries, V. Sattui Winery in St. Helena and Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga. V. Sattui Winery produces 45 different wines and farms over 200 acres of estate vineyards. The winery also sources grapes from Napa, Sonoma, Amador, Lodi and Mendocino counties for single-vineyard wines.

    Castello di Amorosa produces 17 wines and sits on 30 acres of hillside vineyards located in the heart of the Napa Valley’s Diamond Mountain District. Dario Sattui is one of the

    Napa Valley’s most visible philanthropists. He is a significant supporter of Napa Valley

    Hospice, Hands Across the Valley and the Napa Valley Land Trust. In the last 10 years, V. Sattui Winery has protected over 550 acres in the Napa Valley with Conservation Easements that restrict the development of land with homes and preserves hundreds of acres of vineyards, oak woodlands and grassland open space forever. He also has an active role with the Festival del Sole to help bring music to the area.

    His great-grandfather Vittorio Sattui, an Italian immigrant, founded V. Sattui Winery in 1885 in San Francisco. As Vittorio lived to be 94 years old, Dario got to know him and was fascinated by his stories and photos of the old winery, above which the Sattui family continued to live even after Prohibition had shut it down. As a child, Dario would play among the barrels and tanks in the underground cellars while dreaming of reviving the winery when he grew up.

    He kept this dream alive as he furthered his education, receiving a B.S. in Accounting and Finance from San Jose State University in 1965 and then an M.B.A. from University of California, Berkeley, in 1969.

    Following graduation, Sattui traveled around Europe for two years in an old VW van. During this time he developed a fascination for medieval architecture. Living out of his van, Sattui would visit medieval castles, monasteries, palaces, farmhouses and wineries, studying their designs, taking photographs and sketching the buildings.

    In 1972, Sattui returned to the U.S. with the intent of re-establishing his great- grandfather’s winery. In 1975 he opened V. Sattui Winery in St. Helena, focusing on an unusual business model for the time---a winery with the feel of a small European village, offering picnic grounds and most importantly, a direct to consumer approach to sales. In the first year of operation, the business was profitable, and today V. Sattui Winery produces 40,000 cases of wine each year.

    After decades of research, planning, and studying medieval castles throughout Italy and the rest of Europe, Dario Sattui began his marathon building project in 1993, spanning nearly 14 years. The Castello has evolved to include over 121,000 square feet, 107 rooms, 8000 tons of hand-squared stones, 8 levels (4 above ground and 4 below), 900 feet of caves, a great hall with a 500-year-old fireplace and two-story Italian frescoes, a drawbridge, dungeon and torture chamber, stables, medieval church, a lake, and arguably

    the single most impressive wine barrel room in the U.S., constructed with ancient Roman cross-vaulted ceilings.

    Sattui is married to Yana Albert-Sattui, RN, BSN who owns Anthropology, a Medical Spa and Anti-Aging Salon in St. Helena. Yana was born in the Ukraine, studied medicine in Moscow and moved to the U.S. in 1991. Dario also has one son, Mario, named after Dario’s grandfather.

    Sattui’s hobbies include travel, sports, nature and eating and drinking well. He and Yana live at Villa St. Michael, a restored Victorian farmhouse, and enjoy entertaining guests with their classic Italian cooking.

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