Boisset opens Napa’s first wine history museum

Flamboyant Frenchman Jean-Charles Boisset has opened the Napa Valley’s first wine history museum at Oakville Grocery, which dates back to 1881.

Jean-Charles Boisset has opened the Napa Valley’s first wine museum, 1881 Napa, at Oakville Grocery

Called ‘1881 Napa’, the museum and tasting room is located in a Victorian-era farmhouse behind Oakville Grocery on Napa’s Route 29.

The museum features an impressive Baccarat crystal chandelier and a canvas map of Napa County from 1895

Burgundian entrepreneur Boisset purchased the property last year and has been renovating it ever since.

As part of the venture, Boisset has created a new wine label called 1881 Napa to showcase Cabernets made from fruit grown across 12 Napa Valley sub-appellations, including Stags Leap, Oakville, St. Helena and Calistoga.

The museum features a curious collection of secateurs and vintage winemaking tools; a detailed reproduction of an 1895 map of the Napa County covering the ceiling; and a huge Baccarat crystal chandelier hanging from it.

In the tasting room three wine flights are on offer that aim to showcase the diversity of wine styles found in Napa.

One of the flights compares warmer and cooler AVAs, while another delves into the differences between mountain and valley floor-grown Cabernet.

“We want to create a destination that celebrates Napa’s long history and its pioneering founders while exploring Napa’s incredibly diverse terroir,” said Boisset.

“The Napa Valley has a powerful place in American wine history and 1881 Napa puts the region in perspective on the world stage,” he added. 1881 Napa is open daily from 11am-6pm. Reservations are recommended.

In April Boisset launched a $400 coffee table wine book finished in red velvet called Alchemy of the Senses. Each copy of the 235-page tome comes with a gold pendulum in an ode to Boisset’s grandmother, who carried one with her at all times.

Taking a light-hearted approach to wine, the book includes sections on decanting, terroir and tasting, a collection of recipes, music and wine matching playlist, and a guide on how to throw the perfect party.

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