As the world gets closer and closer to fully reopening, I am excited to get out and explore more of the Napa Valley. This month’s exploration found my friend Sam and I at the Oakville Wine Merchant. Located directly next to the Oakville Grocery, Oakville Wine Merchant is the perfect place for someone interested in ALL of Napa Valley. They feature wines from all sixteen Napa Valley appellations. Wines are dispensed from machines, creating an affordable way to explore all 16 appellations from one spot!
When you walk into the Oakville Wine Merchant, you are immediately struck by the sheer amount of wines available to try! The room is organized into appellation, starting from Carneros in the south and ending in Calistoga in the north. They also feature a “100 points” wine machine and an 1881 Oakville Wine Merchant wine machine. To get started, pick up a glass and a card from one of the friendly staff members. Your card allows you to choose wines from whatever machine you want! At the end of your tasting, you simply pay the balance on your card.
Choosing Your Wine
Now comes the fun part. Choosing the wines to try. Wines are offered in a taste (1 oz), half glass, or full glass. Wines range in price from $13 for a full glass to over $100 a taste. If you need help deciding which wines to try, the staff is happy to give you recommendations!
Our Wine Choices
With so many wines to choose from, we needed help! Walter Hamlin, Wine Director for Oakville Wine Merchant, was more than happy to help guide our tasting. We started with Le Petit Coquerel Sauvignon Blanc from Calistoga. It was bright, crisp and the perfect daily drinking white wine. We both made a mental note to come back and buy some for pool season. Next up was a delicious rosé, Prêt à Boire. French for “ready to drink” this rosé from esteemed winemaker Heidi Barret is one to write home about! Our last wine of the day was Larkin 2018 Cabernet Franc. Napa Valley is world-famous for its Cabernet Sauvignon, but its cousin, Cabernet Franc has started to give it a run for its money in recent years. A little softer and a little lighter, I tend to prefer Cabernet Franc.
Add Some Food
One of the fun things about Oakville Wine Merchant is that it’s neighbors with Oakville Grocery! You can stop into Oakville Grocery, pick up a sandwich, woodfire pizza, or cheese and complete your whole wine tasting experience. Guests who decide to enjoy a glass of wine from the Oakville Wine Merchant can also eat their food outside on the Oakville Wine Merchant patio. A lovely treat when the main patio is busy.
Take in Some History
The second floor of the Oakville Wine Merchant is dedicated to the rich wine history of the Napa Valley. Learn about the valley’s founders and enjoy historical artifacts that tell the story of wine-making. The history museum is free to anyone; you do not have to taste wine to enjoy it.
If you are new to the valley or have always wanted to try that cult wine, Oakville Wine Merchant is a must-stop on your Wine Country itinerary.