Museum Celebrates History of California Wine

11 July, 2019

In California's Napa Valley, light shines from the windows of a large house built in the 1800s. Inside, visitors study old tools and taste new wine products.

1881 Napa, a wine history museum, opened this month in Oakville, California. Oakville is about 97 kilometers north of San Francisco.

In this photo taken Wednesday, June 5, 2019, winemaking tools including a wooden peg and soil injectors are displayed at 1881 Napa in Oakville, Calif.
In this photo taken Wednesday, June 5, 2019, winemaking tools including a wooden peg and soil injectors are displayed at 1881 Napa in Oakville, Calif.

The museum offers self-guided tours explaining the history of Napa Valley and the first people to call it home. Visitors can inspect a collection of rare winemaking tools, such as scalders, filters, spigots and soil injectors. A huge copy of an 1895 map of Napa County looks down on the room from above.

The Boisset Collection operates wineries in California, France and Canada. The family-owned business purchased the 145-year-old redesigned house earlier this year. It also bought the nearby Oakville Grocery, which is said to be California's oldest continuously operating grocery store.

From 1881 Napa, one can see the Mayacamas Mountains and the famous To Kalon Vineyard across the street at the Robert Mondavi Winery.

The museum is open to the public, and is free to visit. The ground floor holds a tasting room, where visitors can examine soil samples and read about vineyards in different parts of Napa Valley. They also can compare tastes of wines from cooler and warmer areas, hillsides and the valley floor.

One tasting, called "Embark on a Journey Throughout the Valley," gives visitors a chance to try 12 kinds of red wine, known as cabernet sauvignons.

"We want to create a destination that celebrates Napa's long history ... while exploring Napa's incredibly diverse terroir," said Boisset Collection's chief, Jean-Charles Boisset. He spoke to The Associated Press.

I'm ­Pete Musto.

Eric Risberg reported this story for the Associated Press. Pete Musto adapted it for VOA Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

What kinds of things do you think you might learn from a wine museum? We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section or on 51VOA.COM.


Words in This Story

winen. an alcoholic drink made from the liquid produced by the small, round fruit called grapes

museumn. a building in which interesting and valuable things, such as paintings and sculptures or scientific or historical object, are collected and shown to the public

tour(s) – activity in which you go through a place (such as a building or city) in order to see and learn about the different parts of it

grocery storen. a store that sells food and household supplies

vineyardn. a field where grapes are grown

sample(s) – n. a small amount of something that gives you information about the thing it was taken from

destinationn. a place to which a person is going or something is being sent

diverseadj. made up of people or things that are different from each other

terroirn. the complete natural environment in which a given wine is produced, including qualities such as the soil and climate