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Waterfront Wine Tasting in Richmond

Head to Richmond for vino with a view.


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Jim Norrena

If iconic World War II heroine Rosie the Riveter had taken time off to go wine tasting, she would’ve loved Riggers Loft Wine Company. This spectacular new waterfront wine center is just a seagull’s swoop away from the Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historical Park in Richmond. Once a warehouse where Victory and Liberty ships were assembled, the Riggers Loft building is now home to three East Bay urban wineries and a cidery: Carica Wines, R&B Cellars, Irish Monkey Cellars, and Far West Cider Co.

Riggers Loft is only open Thursday through Sunday. The rest of the week is reserved for production work at the cooperative, which boasts an expansive setting along maritime Richmond. At the chic high-top tasting bar, patrons mingle with winery owners, who are almost always there to talk about their releases. All wines and ciders are made on-site, so pyramids of wooden wine barrels and towering steel fermentation tanks stand sentinel over weekly activities—such as trivia on Thursdays and live music on the weekends—adding an industrial feel.

Jim Norrena

We arrived before sunset on a Saturday to catch the shimmering waterfront views of the San Francisco Bay dotted with sailboats. Our group nestled into the luxurious leather armchairs near the bar. Sipping fine wines while sampling a selection of truly tasty nibbles from Street Eats, an on-site food truck, we wondered why we’d ever travel to Napa again.

 

Jim Norrena

Shipshape Sips

Margaret and Charlie Dollbaum, the owners of Carica Wines, are hitting all the high points with their small-batch boutique wines. The lovely 2015 Carica Ritchie Vineyard Russian River Sauvignon Blanc has a creamy mouthfeel with hints of lemon and tropical fruit, and a nose that evokes a summer garden ($24).

For everyday drinking, the Improviser by R&B Cellars is a gutsy Zin-based blend that won’t break the bank. Jazz musician Kevin Brown is the owner and winemaker, and his big nonvintage red wine is always in tune ($17).

Do not, we repeat, do not leave without tasting the handmade ciders from Far West Cider Co. Owner Adam Chinchiolo harvests the apples from his family’s orchards in California’s Central Valley. The whisper-light, crisp Crimson Gold is made from 100 percent crab apples ($10).


Riggers Loft Wine Company, 1325 Canal Blvd., Richmond, (510) 233-2065, riggersloftwine.com.

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