Napa - Castello di Amorosa
Some tourist traps in Napa Valley are totally worth seeing -- especially when that trap includes a torture chamber with a Pit of Doom and an authentic Iron Maiden. The wine is pretty good too (we like their Rosé, aka "Gioia.")
There's a right way to visit Castello di Amorosa and there's a wrong way. The right way: dig into your wallet and take the castle tour that includes the dungeons. And if you have kids,,, make sure you do this in the morning. The castle itself is astounding! If you don't pay for the tour, you overpay for tasting and only get to see the exterior and gift-shop portions of the castle. You are totally missing the show.
Napa's castle/winery opened its drawbridge in 2007 after being under construction since the early 90's. The castle was built to replicate medieval anti-siege castles from Italy -- and is "authentic" as possible (aside from earthquake retrofit and embedded sprinkler systems.) The stones are hand-cut and display several different eras of stone cutting. The castle tour is excellent and reveals many of the anti-siege characteristics of the castle, including a drawbridge w/ moat, defensive archer posts, holes for pouring hot oil on attackers, and a torture chamber. My kids really enjoyed this tour, especially because they are big fans of the Lord of the Rings movies and the battle at Helm's Deep.
Within the "ancient" walls is a very modern wine distillery. You will learn much about their process but more about the castle. I'd say the tour is 2/3 castle, 1/3 wine. After the underground torture chamber you pass through the underground halls where all of the wine barrels are stored. Our tour guide tapped one and we enjoyed a barrel tasting. Eventually the tour brought us to a private tasting room that was set up like a long, royal bar. The wine is decent but not remarkable. We enjoyed the Gioia so we bought a few bottles. The castle was built with love by Dario Sattui, who also owns the world-famous winery and picnic spot V. Sattui just down the road. You are welcome to take Castello di Amorosa wines to the V. Sattui picnic grounds and drink them there.