SIP
Oakville Wine Merchant
Taste Wine from 16 Napa AVAs
WRITTEN BY LAYNE RANDOLPH 

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Published On: March 01, 2024
exterior image of the Oakville Grocery building with blue sky in background
PHOTO COURTESY OF BOISSET COLLECTION

In one stop along Highway 29-Saint Helena Highway in Oakville, California, there is the Valley’s best restaurant, best sandwiches, and a serve-yourself tasting of wine from every appellation in Napa Valley, including several 100-point wines, offered by the Oakville Wine Merchant. Talk about one-stop shopping.

Oakville Grocery, California’s oldest continually operating grocery store, has served the community since 1881. “The community” started with gold rush crews buying pickaxes and some pioneers using the grocery postal service to send telegrams. Today’s community includes visitors to one of America’s top tourist destinations, Napa Valley, and locals with higher-than-average standards for wine and cuisine.

It is a modern hub for delicious food and wine, but it retains its original charm thanks to careful restoration and attention to period details. It is all part of the vision that the owner and Napa historical preservationist Jean-Charles Boisset of the Boisset Collection imagined, which aims to preserve the past while adding a twist to make it relevant to the present day.

The Boisset Collection includes notable wineries and tasting rooms such as Buena Vista Winery, JCB, the Calistoga Depot, DeLoach Vineyards, Elizabeth Spencer, Raymond, and Chateau Buena Vista, to name only a few. Boisset’s commitment to excellence is only exceeded by his passion for historic preservation, and he blends the two beautifully in every location.

sandwich with lettuce, tomato, avocado, mayonnaise and meatAs evidence, in 2023, Oakville Grocery won a Best of Wine Tourism Award of Excellence for Napa Valley restaurants by Great Wine Capitals. It also has placed in the top three of Napa Valley Life Magazine’s People’s Choice Awards year after year for the Best Place for a Sandwich, winning the #1 spot in 2023.

Next door to the Oakville Grocery, the original owner’s former residence is now Napa’s first wine history museum (1881 Napa Wine History Museum) and tasting room (Oakville Wine Merchant). Here, Boisset has created an environment where guests can experience the depth and breadth of the region’s wines and get a glimpse into California history while sampling and comparing wine from the Valley’s wide variety of appellations and terroir.

“We invite everyone to explore the diversity of Napa Valley’s wines in an amazing space where they can relax and discover the magic of our elixirs as well as our rich history,” said Boisset.

To do so, Oakville Wine Merchant has 12 Napa Tech machines installed on the ground floor of the Victorian home (the 1881 Napa Wine History Museum is upstairs) filled with wines grouped by Napa Valley’s sub-appellations. Displays around the tasting room highlight each AVA’s unique stories and soils. Guests can purchase a card with various denominations and select a taste, half glass, or full glass from the machines.

wall of self-pour wine machinesWith glass in hand, guests lounge at the outside bistro and picnic tables to savor the combination of heralded fares and wines. There is even an outdoor pizza oven, making the Oakville Grocery/Wine Merchant/1881 Napa Wine History Museum the ideal spot for a casual yet upscale stop that has it all: A tasting room highlighting Napa Valley’s distinct sub-appellations, a museum where guests can explore Napa’s rich wine history, and curated food options from the award-winning Oakville Grocery.

FOR MORE INFORMATION www.boissetcollection.com