The Castello di Amorosa is one of a number of wineries that offer discounts to local residents.

There can be perks to living locally that go beyond proximity to Wine Country’s riches as I happily discovered on two recent jaunts wine tasting.
We showed up eagerly for our first glimpse of the Castello di Amorosa, a marvel of tasteful, European architectural imitation between Calistoga and St. Helena that visually transports you directly to Northern Italy. But the $16 per person tasting fee on weekends (and holidays) did make me gulp. And that didn’t include a tour – just tasting and access to a limited part of the castle.
Budget travelers that we are, we decided to find a different winery to explore and return to the Castello on a weekday when prices drop. After all, the beauty of traveling locally is the gift of flexibility. You don’t have to cram it all into one day.
As we turned to leave, politely mentioning we lived nearby and would return, the ticket taker disclosed that the Castello offers a 50 percent discount for locals.
Seems the Castello, along with dozens and dozens of other wineries, participates in the Napa Valley Neighbor Program. If you’re lucky enough to live in Napa Valley and can prove it with a photo I.D., you can enter half off weekday mornings until noon. Although we live over the ridge in that other valley – Sonoma – the Castello graciously extended the discount.
It happened again on a recent bikeride through the back roads of Sonoma. The tasting room pourer at Ravenswood (18701 Gehricke Road), waived the tasting fee when he found out we were fellow Sonomans.
The lesson? It doesn’t hurt to politely ask when tasting in wine country, if there is a discount for locals. And when those friendly guys in the tasting room ask where you’re from, happily say, “We’re from here.”
Anyone else stumble on special deals for locals? Do share.
For a full list of wineries participating in the Napa Neighbors discount program visit napavintners.com.
Regular tasting and admission rates at the Castello are $16 for basic admission and tasting and $31 for a full tour of the authentically replicated medieval Tuscan castle. For reservations call 967-6272.