When you hear the word Napa, you automatically think of the beautiful landscape of the California Wine Country. The rolling hills and valley floor are sprinkled with jewel toned grape vines and ripe fruit waiting to be harvested. But there is more to this envied valley that is making a re-emergence amongst wine connoisseurs and foodies alike. In addition to the festivities that surround the beloved grape harvest, it is also harvest season for another fruit that is prevalent in the Napa Valley. The olive.
Although you may not know it, Napa Valley is home to olive trees that have been here long before the vineyards took root. Imported from other countries such as Italy, Spain, and France, these groves of trees were planted in the 1800’s by pioneers and missionaries looking to build a life in California. Most of the groves were abandoned and long forgotten after Prohibition in the 1920’s. However, locals have begun to take notice of the trees that are planted on their properties amongst the vines of grapes. Resurrecting the overgrown trees by heavy pruning has brought the hardy olive trees back to life, producing abundant crops of olives.
Fruity. Buttery. Grassy. Peppery. These descriptive words are attributes of...olive oil. Known for its Michelin rated restaurants and home to the Culinary Institute of America, Napa’s elite restaurateurs and aspiring chefs have welcomed the use of fresh locally produced extra virgin olive oil in their cooking endeavors. Like a fine wine, olive oil can enhance the flavors of food, taking your dining experience to another level. Olive oil has quickly become part of the Napa Valley culture and is gaining popularity amongst those who swirl, sniff, and taste.
Experience olive oil tasting yourself at several Napa Valley wineries. Sip and savor wine and olive oil at Long Meadow Ranch with a tasting room located in the historic Logan-Ives House in St. Helena. Be sure to try our favorite, Prato Lungo, a very unique olive oil with a fascinating history. You can also take a private tour of an actual olive mill at Round Pond Estate in Rutherford. Here you will learn more about how olive oil is produced, enjoy food and wine pairings, and sample their robust Olio Nuovo, a very special treat. To find more tasting rooms in Napa, visit our Olive Oil Guide and explore more than just wine.
Napa. It’s more than Wine Country.
Article and photos contributed by The Grove & Company, Inc., your resource and guide for extra virgin olive oil produced in California.