Regions and Appellations USA California North Coast Napa County Napa Valley Oakville

Oakville Wine

Oakville is one of California's most renowned wine regions, sandwiched between Rutherford and Yountville in the very heart of the Napa Valley. Since Napa began its meteoric rise to international wine fame in the 1960s, Oakville has remained at the core of the valley's success, gaining worldwide recognition for its opulent Cabernet Sauvignon and voluptuous Merlot wines.

The origins of Oakville's viniculture date back to 1868, when Henry Walker Crabb set up his first vineyard there. Fittingly, given the local surroundings, Crabb named the vineyard To Kalon (kalon means "highest beauty" in Greek) – a name retained by Robert Mondavi when he purchased the site almost a century later. Immediately south of To Kalon is Heitz Cellar's famous Martha's Vineyard. Together, these two vineyards make some of America's very finest Cabernet Sauvignon wines.

Vineyards in Oakville
©Napa Valley Vintners

Along with Mondavi and Heitz, some of Napa's most prestigious and well-known wine names are found within the AVA's bounds. Harlan Estate and Far Niente can be found in the lower reaches of the Mayacama mountains on the western side of the valley, while Screaming Eagle and PlumpJack can be found closer to the Vaca mountains on the other side. Many other producers from around Napa and Sonoma source grapes from the To Kalon vineyard to make prestigious, ageworthy wines.

Abundant sunshine and warm temperatures allow Oakville's vines to reach optimal maturity over the course of the growing season, producing deep, richly flavored wines. The AVA is just far enough south to benefit from the cooling, moisture-laden fog that drifts up the Napa Valley from the San Francisco and San Pablo bays – a quintessential element of the Napa terroir. This cooler mesoclimate prevents the grapes from baking quickly in the sun, instead providing a slow, controlled ripening period that makes for grapes with a much-respected balance of sugars and acidity. This influence is particularly noticeable in Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon, known for its varietal hints of eucalyptus and mint.

The topography in Oakville varies, rising from the valley floor up into the Vaca mountain range. Some of the most famous red-wine producers grow vines on the free-draining, gravelly soils of the geological formation known as the Western Bench. The valley floor has more clay and sandy loams, as might be expected given its proximity to the Napa river and Conn Creek.

Cabernet Sauvignon is the undisputed king of Oakville, and represents more than 75 percent of the wines made there. Merlot steps in at a distant second place, used far more often to complement Cabernet in Bordeaux-blend and Meritage wines than as a varietal wine in its own right. Tiny quantities of white Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc wines are made from Oakville vineyards, but few command the price and prestige of their Cabernet cousins.

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Most Popular Oakville Wine

Based on search frequency, updated monthly
Wine Name
Grape
Popularity
Score
Avg Price
Far Niente Estate Bottled Cabernet Sauvignon, Oakville, USA Cabernet Sauvignon 416th 92 $158
Continuum Proprietary Red, Oakville, USA Bordeaux Blend Red 509th 94 $259
Robert Mondavi Winery 'The Reserve' To Kalon Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Oakville, USA Cabernet Sauvignon 647th 93 $148
Bevan Cellars 'Ontogeny' Red, Oakville, USA Bordeaux Blend Red 728th 93 $111
Groth Cabernet Sauvignon, Oakville, USA Cabernet Sauvignon 815th 90 $59
Screaming Eagle Sauvignon Blanc, Oakville, USA Sauvignon Blanc 817th 91 $6,146
Paradigm Cabernet Sauvignon, Oakville, USA Cabernet Sauvignon 836th 91 $83
Realm Cellars Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Oakville, USA Cabernet Sauvignon 1,039th 95 $393
PlumpJack Winery Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Oakville, USA Cabernet Sauvignon 1,193rd 92 $159
Robert Mondavi Winery Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, USA Cabernet Sauvignon 1,196th 89 $57
MacDonald Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Oakville, USA Cabernet Sauvignon 1,211th 95 $675
Joseph Phelps Vineyards Backus Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Oakville, USA Cabernet Sauvignon 1,246th 94 $248
Maybach Family Vineyards Materium Cabernet Sauvignon, Oakville, USA Cabernet Sauvignon 1,255th 95 $365
Groth Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Oakville, USA Cabernet Sauvignon 1,402nd 92 $141
Paul Hobbs Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Oakville, USA Cabernet Sauvignon 1,532nd 94 $499
Futo Estate Red, Oakville, USA Bordeaux Blend Red 2,148th 95 $360
Schrader Cellars Double Diamond Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, USA Cabernet Sauvignon 2,164th 90 $79
Ghost Block Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Oakville, USA Cabernet Sauvignon 2,283rd 90 $84
Nickel & Nickel John C. Sullenger Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Oakville, USA Cabernet Sauvignon 2,689th 92 $113
PlumpJack Winery Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Oakville, USA Cabernet Sauvignon 2,969th 95 $412
Peter Michael 'Au Paradis' Cabernet Sauvignon, Oakville, USA Cabernet Sauvignon 2,973rd 94 $245
Morlet Family Vineyards Passionement Cabernet Sauvignon, Oakville, USA Cabernet Sauvignon 3,174th 94 $238
Bevan Cellars 'EE - Double E' Red, Oakville, USA Cabernet Franc - Cabernet Sauvignon 3,282nd 95 $212
Bevan Cellars Tench Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Oakville, USA Cabernet Sauvignon 3,659th 94 $224
Gargiulo Vineyards Money Road Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon, Oakville, USA Cabernet Sauvignon 4,192nd 91 $105
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To see how Wine-Searcher uses average pricing and professional wine critic scores on this page, please see Average Wine Prices and Wine Scores. To find out about popularity, please see Wine Ranks.
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