You may have seen the news that the historic Oakville Grocery building, newly renovated, will be re-opening tomorrow. I couldn’t help but smile at the news, as it brought back memories of my entry into the wine business.
Just across the street from the store, just about where the photo at left was taken, you’ll find the Cellar Door tasting room for participating producers from Napa Wine Company. I worked there on weekends, under the patient and jovial tutelage of Andy Gridley (now of Gridley Family Cellars). I spent my weeks working at Charles Schwab’s headquarters, and my weekends in Napa. I stayed in the guest room of friends in St. Helena, and we spent my few non-working hours enjoying the many sites, sounds and tastes of the valley in the summer time.
Right around noon at the tasting room, Andy would say “I’ll buy if you fly”, and I’d venture out to forage for food at one of the small handful of nearby options. Oakville Grocery was a favorite spot, full of hand-selected gourmet items targeted to tourists without budget restraints. They also had a corner on the valley’s beautiful people, who seemed to rotate through their staff with regularity, and all of whom were surprisingly friendly, given the crush of people one encountered during peak hours.
I can’t wait to get to Napa soon, to see what the renovations have meant for this old icon. Add it to your list as well, for your next trip to Napa wine country. (and for help with your trip planning, check out the iPhone app – NapaWineries)