Fans of valley olive oil have been able to purchase their favorite pressings locally since Prohibition days.
The Napa Valley Olive Oil was founded in 1931 in St. Helena by G. Guidi. Three decades later, the business was purchased by Nelson and Osvaldo Particelli who were joined in the operation in the mid-’70s by the Lucchesi family.
The original location, at 835 Charter Oak Ave. in St. Helena, has proven to be a favorite Italian bottega frequented by those who enjoy topflight olive oil, cheeses, salami and other things one would like to have in an Italian kitchen.
Now that the families have grown, the next generation is getting involved. That involvement has brought the Napa Valley Olive Oil Company to the city of Napa, opening up a retail outlet downtown on First Street. The owners of the new retail store are Ray Particelli, Narcisa Lucchesi and Leonora Particelli Hanna.
Located at 1331 First St. — which most recently was a Talbott’s outlet store — the new olive oil and vinegar outlet shares space with the Napa Tourist Information Center and Square One Tasting Bar.
The next generation is in charge of the new retail operation, namely Giuliano and Stefano Particelli. Stefano has been cooking since he was 17 and is a graduate of Johnson & Wales University in Denver. He’s worked at Cindy Pawlcyn’s Go Fish, helped open Michael Chiarello’s Bottega with chef de cuisine Nick Ritchie and then worked in Italy at restaurants favored by filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola. He returned to the states to open Coppola’s Rustic in Geyserville and then helped develop menus for Coppola’s resorts in Belize. Most recently, he teamed up with chef Ritchie once again to open Alex Italian Restaurant in Rutherford.
The Napa Valley Olive Oil retail outlet features more than 50 olive oils from around the world, including those from Chile, Spain, Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Greece and northern California — particularly Sacramento Valley. Types of olive oil on the list include those pressed from Frantoio, Favalosa, Arbequina, Leccino, Cortina and Barnea olives, among others. The most recent shipments are those harvested recently in the southern hemisphere.
The newly opened shop is adorned with dozens of silver jugs full of the various types of oil. Prices for the oils are $7 for a 200 ml bottle, $12 for a 375 ml bottle and $18 for a 750 ml bottle.
The shop also features more than 20 balsamic vinegars, included flavors like Sicilian lemon, dark chocolate, porcini, truffle and espresso. Prices range from $12 to $18.
“I’m offering tastings of the oils and vinegars for our customers,” noted chef Stefano Particelli. He asked those interested in dropping by for an organized tasting to contact him at 265-6866. Those who just drop by the new retail shop can also taste the oils and vinegars on their own.
The company is also putting together an olive oil club, patterned after wine clubs wherein oils and vinegars are shipped on a regular basis to those who sign up. Information about the club and company can be obtained by logging onto nvoliveoil.com.