Sips, Ships, and Sparks at the Richmond Shipyard


Visitors at Riggers Loft Wine Company in Richmond are treated to great wines and great views.

East Bay folks who like to station themselves on the bay shore for Independence Day fireworks are often rewarded with a show on every horizon.

“You can see them going off in Berkeley, Marin, and San Francisco from here,” says R&B Cellars winemaker Barbara Brown of the upcoming fireworks. It’s easy to see how that’s true as we look through the wide expanse of windows of this historic building, now the Riggers Loft Wine Company winery and tasting room, which sits right beside the water on Canal Street at the Port of Richmond.

The day we visited was a week too early for fireworks, and we had only started to sip some of the spicy/juicy R&B Cellars’ 2011 Saxy Syrah when the sight of a huge container ship—the length of three city blocks—practically knocked us off our barstools. The behemoth silently glided by as we contemplated the wonders of the location. Just getting to the tasting room on the winding (but very well marked) route through the Port could make one a little dizzy, but the rewards are so many. The building (and many around it) are part of the National Park Service’s extensive Rosie the Riveter monument, so it’s one of many exciting insider looks at the WWII shipbuilding yards. And then there’s the tasting room…

Riggers Loft Wine Company is brand new. It’s a co-operative facility with Carica Wines, Irish Monkey Cellars, and Far West Cider Company. You can taste flights that include all the producers, have snacks or a meal from the Street Eats food truck parked right outside, and enjoy music, games, or sports on a big screen, depending on the night. If you’re like me, just looking out the window with a friend and a glass of good local wine is entertainment enough.

Regarding those fireworks? Riggers Loft will be closed on the Fourth of July, but come out on Sunday, July 3 to watch Richmond’s evening fireworks from the Riggers Loft tasting room. The family-oriented event includes tours of the historic SS Red Oak Victory Ship, where kids can enjoy a scavenger hunt, games, and movies. There’s also a video truck and sodas for the kids. (Adults can tour the ship for an extra fee.)

The adult zone is inside the tasting room, where a live jazz quintet (complete with horns) provides a celebratory soundscape for the show out the window. (Bring blankets and chairs if you prefer an outdoor perch.) The ticket price includes three $5 food truck vouchers, and two $4 wine vouchers. Click here for tickets.

July 3, 6pm until fireworks end
A Family Independence Day Celebration – Richmond Fireworks
Riggers Loft Wine Company
1325 Canal Boulevard, Richmond 510 233 2065