Last Updated on September 17, 2023 by The Noms
A fabulous historical grocery store on the main highway through Napa Valley. Check out Oakville Grocery Napa for lunch while wine tasting!
Oakville Grocery Napa Valley has become a lunch tradition for us when we visit wine country. Check out our tips for a weekend in Napa Valley! Tasty options for all, Oakville Grocery Napa Valley offers breakfast and lunch, options for picnicking, a wide variety of alcoholic drinks, as well as a coffee bar and dessert!
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We make it a priority in the middle of our wine tasting day to stop and enjoy the amazing fresh food options they have: cold and hot sandwiches, wood fired pizzas and sandwiches, and deli options: salads, cheeses and meats. They also have local products: honey, spreads, jams, olive oils, crackers and pickles that you can buy to elevate your lunch or perfect picnic.
Oakville Grocery Napa Valley
On our first trip to wine county, our second day of wine tasting in Napa Valley, we stumbled upon the very adorable Oakville Grocery. Located in the small village of Oakville, California on State Road 29 (the main drag through Napa Valley.) The grocery looks almost just like it did when it was started in 1881, the building has vintage hand painted ads and signs and wooden benches underneath a front porch.
The oldest continually operated grocery store in California, Oakville Grocery has been renovated over the years, but the charm of the original old grocery store is apparent despite the modern touches. Creaky floors, antique touches and overall vibe are quirky and fun, and you feel like you have walked into an old general store!
The first record of Oakville Grocery opening began as as P. B. O’Neil’s “dry goods, groceries, and hardware store” in 1874. The store’s name has varied over the years between “Oakville Grocery” and “Oakville Mercantile,” but its location and purpose have been the same, and longer than any other store in Napa County.
Jamie McQuaid eventually bought the property. In 1881 the Napa County Reporter reported on “Oakville Station—Where James McQuaid officiates as Railroad agent, Postmaster, and Wells, Fargo and Company’s agent, also dispensing at a reasonable figure, all kinds of general merchandise to people of the vicinity, from a calico dress to a keg of tenpenny nails.”
Oakville Grocery is in the same spot as it stands today: near the center of one acre square next to the Highway and an east/west road, now the Oakville Crossroad. To the north of the store in 1874 was a large elegant, two story house. Families have lived in that house over the years. It now is an interactive museum highlighting the history of the Napa Valley and is the Oakville Wine Merchant, featuring ounce sips of wines from all over the valley.
Oakville Grocery Co. is a wine country institution, a vibrant gathering place, an idyllic locale to stop in for gourmet food, wine drinkers and even drip coffee. Even better, this Napa Valley location is just over an hour north of San Francisco in Northern California.
Oakville Grocery Now
The property has a storied history, and has changed hands a few times over the years. in 2018, Jean-Charles Boisset bought Oakville Grocery and in 2019 unveiled the new Oakville Grocery: food that is locally grown, carefully curated, artistically displayed and free of pesticides or synthetic fertilizers. Food not selected for its exotic qualities, as it was in the 1970s Oakville Grocery, or for convenience, like in the 1950s, but for purity, quality, sustainability, and locale.
Boisset also owns some of the most revered wineries in Napa: Buena Vista Winery, DeLoach Vineyards, Elizabeth Spencer Vineyards, Raymond Vineyards, and so many more in Napa Valley, France, England and India.
Oakville Wine Merchant
Oakville Wine Merchant is located in the 2 story farmhouse next door to the grocery store. While a small museum as well, the Oakville Wine Merchant offers more than 50 wines by the glass or ounce in a gorgeous lounge setting. Their wine walls offer wines grouped by Napa Valley sub-appellations. These 12 technology wine stations also include highly sought after wines from Bond, Shafer, Dominus and more.
If you would like to do a wine tasting there, reservations are encouraged. You can opt for a curated tasting or self service, by the half glass or glass. You can also order from their list of cheese, caviar and charcuterie.
Drinks offered at Oakville Market
An extensive selection of local wines (by can or bottle), microbrew beers, hard ciders, juices and sodas are stored at the back of the store on shelves and coolers. This gourmet shop has a coffee bar which offers locally roasted beans and a full array of coffee beverages, hot teas and hot chocolate. They also have fresh baked cookies and desserts.
Great Places to Stay in Wine Country
- Rutherford Hotel
- 5 bedroom St Helena House
- Healdsburg, California Hotels
- Vineyards with Guest Houses
We spent a while looking around, and debated if we wanted to make our own picnic, which was an option. But, in the end we decided to order some sandwiches. The deli offers house made sandwiches (hot or cold) featuring local produce and seasonal ingredients, all of which sounded delicious.
We have eaten a lot of different sandwiches over the years, but the list includes roast turkey, chicken salad, tuna Nicoise, BLTA, Prosciutto and Brie (amazing)!
We take lunch and a bottle of fresh ginger ale (always a tradition, too!) outside to the picnic area behind and beside the main building. They have a number of shaded picnic benches there. This picnic area overlooks the surrounding vineyards including the famous Robert Mondavi and Opus One. You can also watch the highway, as well as the train track to see if the Napa Wine Train comes by.
There is also the option of fresh made pizzas outside! And trust me when I tell you it smells heavenly out there!
Oakville Grocery Healdsburg
If you cannot make it to the flagship location in Napa Valley, there is another spot! The second Oakville Grocery location is in Sonoma County, in Healdsburg, California. We hadn’t visited until recently, and it is located in a part of a corner strip mall with a small deli, bakery and coffee offerings. They also have a great selection for picnic lunches and fun sodas, beers and half bottles of wine, too!
Make sure to add them to your breakfast list, too! Pastries, sausage sandwiches, and breakfast burritos are all tasty! Make sure to check out our suggested weekend itinerary for Sonoma Valley! Also, may we suggest the Matheson for dinner in Healdsburg!
Tips and Tricks
- Plan Time – If you are eating at Oakville Grocery Napa plan an hour for lunch at least. Especially if you are planning around wine tasting times. While they are busy, lunch is usually their busiest time, and you may have to wait to order and wait for your food. Plan accordingly. We are assuming the Healdsburg location is the same.
- Curbside – They do offer curbside pickup. You can order online and pick it up to go. This is an especially great option if you are doing a picnic at a winery – you can take your food to go! Make sure you are wine tasting at a winery that will let you do this. (Some require advanced reservations for a lunch option).
- Catering – They offer catering. If you are staying in Napa Valley or Sonoma, they offering catered meals. If you have a big group of friends or family, this may be a great option for a meal!
- Parking – There is limited parking around the buildings in Oakville, so plan for that too – there are wine busses and big vehicles as well, so there are limited spots. Oakville Grocery Healdsburg is on the town square, which is more parking, but again, there are wine tasting rooms and restaurants all over, so you may need to park and walk a block or two.
- Groups – If you have a group of people and want to sit together we may suggest that someone hold a table for you while the others order. While people eat quickly most of the time, at the height of the lunch rush it may be more difficult to get seating all together.
Oakville Grocery Locations
We highly recommend Oakville Grocery! We love the friendly staff, fun and interesting selections of local and artisanal goods and some delicious sandwiches! It has made the Oakville Grocery a must stop if you are in Wine Country! If you are in Sonoma, do the Thomas George Wine Safari!
Oakville Grocery (Napa Valley) –
- 7856 St Helena Hwy, Open Daily – 7:00 am to 5:00 pm
Oakville Grocery (Healdsburg, California/Sonoma Valley) –
- 124 W Matheson St, Healdsburg, Open Daily – 7:00 am to 5:00 pm
Look at some of our other Spirited Travel Adventures!
- Russian River Valley
- Sonoma County Wineries
- Gloria Ferrer Winery in Sonoma
- Sonoma’s Spirited Side – Prohibition Spirits
- Humboldt Distillery – Fortuna, California
- Humboldt Bay Social Club
- Storm Cellar Winery
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