PointMolate.com

 

Point Molate was developed by the California Wine Association in 1908, as a central winery for processing grapes from all over the state. The Winehaven Winery, as it was called, became the largest winery in the United States, producing 12 million gallons of wine and port per year at its peak, before being shut down during prohibition (though it continued to make sacramental wine until 1937). In 1942, the Navy purchased the 400 acre property for use as a fuel supply depot. Most of the fuel was kept in 20 underground concrete tanks, with a capacity of over 40 million gallons, built on the hillside above the winery. The facility was officially closed in 1998, and the City of Richmond is in the process of taking  it over, once clean-up issues are resolved. 400 people worked at the winery, and the old housing was used and maintained by the Navy. The city would like to build a residential area as part of the redevelopment of the site, however, Chevron, seeking to limit their liability from possible toxic emissions from the adjacent refinery, is resistant. The future use of the old fortress-like main winery building, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, is still being debated.

Visitor Info: map

Western Drive travels through Point Molate, though signs warn against leaving the roadway, as this is still technically a restricted area, owned by the Navy. The private security guards have their office well marked across from the main winery building, and a visit here helps let them know that you are not a vandal or scavenger, which is their primary concern. Access beyond the roadway generally needs to be arranged ahead of time. An informative kiosk is located on Western Drive as you approach from the west, at the intersection to the road out to the old wharf and terminal area, which is gated, as is access to the buried tank farm. To get to Western Drive, exit off the 580 Freeway, at the Western Drive exit, on the Richmond side of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. Western Drive continues past Point Molate to Point San Pablo, and dead-ends at the San Pablo Yacht Harbor.

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