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During the 1860s Oakville, named for the surrounding area’s dense groves of oaks, was a sleepy little railroad stop where steam trains were replenished with water. The Napa Valley Wine Train chugs through town along the same stretch.
In addition to the railroad, the 1860s also brought the first vineyard to Oakville when settler H.W. Crabb purchased acreage near the Napa River. Crabb's efforts prevailed despite battling insect pests and diseases; today the University of California at Davis owns a vineyard in town called Oakville Station, where ongoing experiments to refine viticultural practices are conducted.
A warm, sunny climate and rich soil provide ideal growing conditions for the cabernet grape. Wineries are located along SR 29 (the St. Helena Highway). A few miles south of Oakville at 7856 St. Helena Hwy. (at the junction with the Oakville Crossroad) is the Oakville Grocery, a long-established gourmet food market in the heart of the Napa Valley. This is the perfect place to pick up picnic goodies, sample local specialties from nearby farms and indulge in a caffeinated concoction from the espresso bar.
Take the Oakville Crossroad east until it runs into the Silverado Trail, where there are more wineries within the Oakville appellation; along the way you’ll see the white water tower of Silver Oak Cellars looming over expansive vineyards. Take Oakville Grade Road west and you’ll enter the Oakville Grade, which geographically links the Napa and Sonoma valleys. This winding mountain drive offers spectacular panoramas but requires caution and should only be driven during daylight hours.
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Current Location: Oakville, California