If you love wine and wine tastings, you’re familiar with the importance of pairing. Considering Napa is one of the world’s most well known wine tasting arenas, you can guarantee yourself an experience not just filled with incredible wine, but delicious delicacies go with. Get your tastebuds ready not just for some Cab Sauv on your trip to Napa, but plenty of olive oils to taste too.
Where can I taste Napa Valley Olive Oil? Some of Napa’s best wineries, wine and cheese shops, and restaurants include olive oil tastings that will turn you from someone who enjoys olive oil into an olive oil connoisseur.
What’s a good glass of vino without great food to pair with? You’ll learn about the different flavors and scents great olive oil can provide and walk away with bottles that’ll have you cooking up a storm when you get home, even if you haven’t touched the stove in months. Impress your friends when you go back home from your trip to Napa as you share experiences above and beyond what the typical tourist enjoys. Just remember, if you haven’t done an olive oil tasting before, most of the time you are sipping it in small cups and not dowsing bread with it, so be prepared if you aren’t that much of an olive oil lover to begin with.
Napa Valley Olive Oil Company
Napa Valley Olive Oil Company: With two locations, one in St. Helena and one in downtown Napa, this olive oil company has been growing and manufacturing olive oil since 1931. Family owned and operated, the techniques used to make their authentic, Italian olive oil haven’t changed one bit. Similar to many winemakers, Napa Valley Olive Oil Manufacturing uses a variety of types of olives and harvests to create a complex blend, rather than a typical, high-acid, single-variety oil. Don’t forget to snag some of the Balsamic Vinegars that they bring in from the Reggio
Daily: 8 am-5 pm
The Olive Press
Even though their main location is in Sonoma, you can still treat yourself to all The Olive Press has to offer in downtown Napa’s Oxbow Market. This is the most highly awarded olive oil producer in the U.S. with a focus on deep quality and care for the olive fruit. The Olive Press provides olive oils for plenty of Napa’s local wineries and estates. Although they harvest and produce all of their own oils,
The Olive Press even sometimes accepts olives from small, local growers so they can make their own “Custom Crush”. If you’re really interested in their process, head over to their Sonoma location for a tour and visit to their tasting room, otherwise, shop their large collection of infused oils, dipping oils, extra virgin oils, and more. And, if you fall in love with The Olive Press’s offerings, you can join one of their olive oil clubs too.
Speaking of Oxbow Market, the market is located in downtown Napa and is basically the all you can eat and drink of Napa’s finest tastemakers. Enjoy coffee, wine, pizza, chocolates, oysters, and of course, olive oils from a wide variety of vendors, restaurants, and local shops. Find plenty of incredible cheeses, tapenades, olives, breads, and charcuterie here to pair with the oils you’ve purchased elsewhere. You can put together a lunch for a picnic along Napa’s countryside or at one of the wineries you plan to visit during your trip.
Round Pond Estates
Round Pond Estates, one of Napa’s well established wineries, is equally as passionate about making fresh, high quality olive oils — so much so, they even built their own olive oil mill! The estate orchards that grow Round Pond’s Mediterranean olives are only minutes away, delivering the Estate gourmet olive oil in small lots frequently. This is only one of two olive mills in the Rutherford region. You can guarantee that a visit to Round Pond that includes one of their tastings or culinary experiences will provide you with the opportunity to enjoy their vibrant olive oils. Make sure you visit during November and December if you want to see the processing of their olives.
Long Meadow Ranch
Long Meadow Ranch, which has three properties in Napa Valley, and two just outside of the region, is an establishment run by the Hall family who is focused on artisanal wine, food, and agriculture. Their working ranches are filled with vineyards, olive groves, cattle, horses, chickens, heirloom fruits and vegetables, and even honey bees. Find the opportunity to sample three of their organic olive oils at Long Meadow Ranch’s general store called Farmstead and take home a bottle or two! If you feel like heading outside of Napa to their Anderson Valley Tasting Room, you can enjoy their organic olive oil tasting for only $10 per person.
Since 1947 Lucrero Estate has been producing extra virgin olive oil that’s high quality, harvested at peak ripeness, and boasts a fresh, fruity flavor. They have 17 different olive varieties that can be enjoyed during a tasting. Located in Corning, California, you can enjoy the Lucrero family’s olive oil blends, balsamic vinegars, and process of milling through one of these four tours:
- Introductory Tour: Overview from the olive tree to the table of how olive oil is produced. Enjoy a tour of the production facility and taste three oils and two balsamic vinegars.
$5 per person, 20 minutes; 11 am-3 pm daily
- Explorer Tour: You’ll learn how the oil is produced, how the olives are picked at the orchards, and what the process is behind crushing, decanting, polishing, and bottling the oils. Enjoy a tour of the mill along with five oils, three vinegars, food pairing suggestions, and tapenades to go with.
$20 per person, 60 minutes; must book 48 hours in advance
- Connoisseur Experience: Two person minimum tour with a catered lunch and educational tour that runs at a leisurely pace.
$50 per person, 120 minutes; must book 48 hours in advance
- American Olive Farmer Orchard VIP Group Tour: A three to six person private tour that stops at two of the six family orchards. The tour goes over the specific farming practices and visits a 110 year old orchard and a second orchard where you can see rabbits, coyotes, hawks, and turkeys.
$85 per person, 90 minutes; must book 72 hours in advance
Napa Valley Olive Oil Competition
Napa Valley Olive Oil Competition: If you’re really ready to take your olive oil tasting to the next level, there is a competition for producers to rank in the best olive oils in all categories. Whether you attend the actual competition in April or the County Fair in May, you can find complimentary tastings, learning materials, conversations with local producers, and of course plenty of shopping.
What is the olive oil tasting wheel?
The Recognose Wheel, derived from the Sensory Wheel, is a wheel chart developed by Richard Garwel showing 72 different terms used to describe the flavors and scents of virgin olive oils.
What does bad olive oil taste like?
Olive oil that has gone bad has a distinct smell and flavor. It smells rancid, or like fermenting fruit and has a stale taste similar to motor oil.