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  A Collection of Articles on Winehaven, "California's Undisputed Wine Capital"
April 16, 2023

As Winehaven slowly crumbles, a victim of neglect and poor judgment by the City of Richmond, we reflect on its history. Winehaven was once “California's undisputed wine capital” and the largest winery in the entire word. Following is an extraordinary collection of press clippings about Winehaven’s history that I was provided by a Richmond resident. Will Winehaven be saved?

Winehaven could became a destination similar to Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historical Park and enhance the status and image of Richmond, but instead it has become victim of unending litigation and the RPA’s obsession with the future of Point Molate.

Winehaven history 2020 Napa Valley Register

Raising a glass to Winehaven in Richmond, once the wine capitol of California

By Ben Marks Collectors Weekly

Updated Sep 4, 2020

Would you believe the city of Richmond across the bay from San Francisco — best known as home to a large Chevron oil refinery — was once?

That's because in 1907, the state's biggest turn-of-the-20th-century wine monopoly, the California Wine Association, built a 47-acre compound there, evocatively named Winehaven. As many as 12 million gallons of wine and brandy a year were once produced at Winehaven.

The location was not a whim: In 1906, 10 million gallons of CWA wine had been spilled in the San Francisco earthquake and boiled in the fires that followed. A 2015 book called "Tangled Vines: Greed, Murder,  obsession, and an Arsonist in the Vineyards of California" by Berkeleyside co-founder Frances Dinkelspiel details the story of the CWA, which, at one point, controlled a staggering 84 percent of California's wine business.

In 2000, Bay Area wine ephemera collector and historian Gail Unzelman co-authored a definitive history of the association, "The California Wine Association and Its Member Wineries, 1894-1920," with the late wine historian Ernest Peninou.

Founded in San Francisco in 1894, the CWA was composed of a number of highly influential "someones," including the biggest and most successful wine merchants in San Francisco, who had their hands in everything from the ownership of vineyards across the state to wineries and distributorships.

"In the 1890s, the California wine industry was a mess," Dinkelspiel told me over the phone. The economic panic of 1893, she explained, had created a glut of grapes, severely depressing the price of fruit and wine alike. "The timing was right for someone to get in there and dominate the market in order to stabilize it," she says.

By joining together to form the CWA, the merchants were effectively colluding in broad daylight to create a wine cartel, despite the fact that the Sherman Antitrust Act had just passed in 1890.

The main tactic of the newly formed CWA was simple — wait everyone out. As the biggest buyer of California grapes and biggest seller of the finished product, the CWA could force growers to accept the prices it was
willing to pay, lest they get nothing before the fruit rotted. Similarly, if wine sellers in Chicago, New Orleans and New York didn't want to pay the prices the monopoly was demanding for its barrels and bottles of wine, the association could simply hold onto its inventory until the recalcitrant wine merchants had run out of theirs.

Not surprisingly, such strong-arming did not sit well with growers, winemakers and distributors not aligned with the CWA, which is why, by 1897, an all-out economic wine war was raging between the association and an upstart rival, the California Wine-Makers Corporation.

Because of its size and deep pockets, the CWA had the upper hand on the economic battlefield. Under the leadership of President Percy Morgan, the association abandoned its 1893 tactics, which were designed to stabilize the wine market by holding the line on prices.

Instead, it slashed the cost of its wine, undercutting Wine-Makers Corporation wineries. By 1900, that corporation's three most important members, including the Italian Swiss Colony winery of Sonoma County, had raised the white flag and joined the CWA. 

At the turn of the 20th century, membership in the CWA was apparently the only way for a big California winery to survive.

The resolution of this battle between the dueling cartels paved the way for an unprecedented $1 million investment in the CWA in 1901. The equivalent of around $28 million today, the funding infusion was led by an investment banker and Southern California vineyard owner named Isaias Hellman, who just so happens to be Dinkelspiel's great-great-grandfather.

The CWA represented a new investment opportunity for Hellman in a familiar agricultural sector. Hellman may have had holdings and roots, literally, in Rancho Cucamonga (Southern California), where he owned and ran the 600-acre Cucamonga Vineyard, but he could plainly see that the industry was moving north.

Sure, the Mission grapes that produced sweet, fortified wines like port did well in the south — the state's first vineyards were planted in Southern California by Spanish missions in the late 1700s to produce sacramental wine — but the climate was poorly suited to varietals that would produce the dry table wines that were becoming increasingly popular for daily drinking in the late 19th century. Growers quickly discovered that counties like Sonoma and Napa were better for that. Sorry, SoCal.

In 1858, more than 46 percent of all the grapes grown and harvested in California came from the Los Angeles Viticultural District, home to the Cucamonga Vineyard. That year, Napa and Sonoma combined accounted for less than 10 percent of the state's total production. A decade later, though, the two Northern California counties were on par with Los Angeles.

By 1870, more visionary agricultural entrepreneurs were already planting neat rows of Zinfandel grapes in Sonoma. There, and on the other side of the Mayacamas Mountains in Napa, the seeds of the modern age of California winemaking were being sown.
And by 1890, Napa and Sonoma could claim more than 50 percent of the state's total acreage in wine grapes, compared to less than 10 percent for L.A. Meanwhile, sweet-wine production was moving to the San Joaquin Valley.

Since its founding in 1894, San Francisco had been the CWA's base of business operations, the place where deals were struck and millions of gallons of wine was warehoused in sites across the city. When the San Francisco earthquake struck on April 18, 1906, this geographic diversification looked like it had been a good idea since most of the CWA's structures survived. But then came the fires, which consumed most of the CWA's warehouses. According to wine historian Charles Sullivan in the April 2006 edition of Unzelman's wine quarterly, Wayward Tendrils, "Of the twenty-eight commercial wine establishments in the city, twenty-five were destroyed."

Immediately after the fires caused by the earthquake had died down, Morgan set out to build Winehaven, which allowed him to consolidate the CWA's activities in one place, strategically located at Point Molate in Richmond, which he believed would be economically more efficient than having lots of warehouses spread all over San Francisco.

It was. The east side of San Francisco Bay, which lacked bridges at the time, was also closer to transcontinental railroad lines than San Francisco, while its rail-equipped deep-water dock anticipated the shipping lane that would open through the Panama Canal in 1914. In addition, the pier made it easy to offload grapes grown in Napa and Sonoma counties, which could be sent down the Napa and Petaluma rivers and across the bay to Winehaven for the fall crush. Some 25,000 tons of grapes were crushed at Winehaven in 1907, and in 1908, workers handled 45,000 tons of fruit, producing more than 675,000 gallons of wine that year.

Winehaven helped the CWA solidify its hold on the California wine industry. By 1909, the Calwa Distributing Company was formed "to bring the consumer, in glass, the best wines of the California Wine Association," as Unzelman and Ernest Peninou put it in their book. Calwa and Ca-dis-co became two of the CWA's biggest brands of "pure reliable wines," as they were advertised. Unfortunately, keeping the CWA on its feet after the earthquake and during the construction of Winehaven had come at the price of Morgan's health — by 1911, he would retire from the CWA after 15 years at its helm, retreating to Europe for three years of "rest and recuperation" before returning home to serve on numerous boards (Stanford University among them) and build a three-story mansion south of San Francisco.

Despite Morgan's exit, the second decade of the 20th century began well for the association. "When the 1910 European vintage was virtually wiped out by bad weather," Peninou and Unzelman wrote, "the California wine industry correspondingly prospered."

By the middle of the decade, though, the CWA's future was cloudy.

The association's aging leaders were literally dying off, the outbreak of war in Europe in 1914 had slowed exports, and, most ominously of all, the growing Prohibition movement in the United States suggested that it was only a matter of time before the CWA's very livelihood — selling alcoholic beverages — would be illegal.

In fact, the association first acted on the threat of Prohibition in 1907, when it began producing grape juice in earnest. As early as 1908, the CWA had been slowing its purchases of grapes from its growers, lest its inventories grow too quickly. By the end of 1917, Congress had passed the 18th Amendment banning the "the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors," which was promptly sent to the states for ratification.

All this made Percy Morgan, the man who had done more than anyone to make the CWA the force it had become, inconsolable. On the morning of April 16, 1920, just three months after the passage of the Volstead Act, which put regulatory teeth in the 18th Amendment, the CWA's former leader, still in his pajamas, walked into the library of his mansion, raised a shotgun to his head, and pulled the trigger.

Meanwhile, the increasingly desperate CWA was trying to relocate its grape-juice business from the San Joaquin Valley to Winehaven, but this costly effort failed to generate the revenues needed to keep the enterprise afloat. As for its wine inventory, it was slowly sold as the law permitted — some export licenses were granted after Prohibition, and some of the liquid in the barrels at Winehaven were sold as sacramental wine, bringing the story of California's wine history full circle.

To read the full, original December 2015 story about the history of California wine - based on Frances Dinkelspiel's book "Tangled Vines" and Gail Unzelman and Ernest Peninou's book "The California Wine Association and Its Member Wineries, 1894-1920" - visit Collectors Weekly. To see more historical images of the California wine industry, visit Early California Wine Trade Museum.

Winehaven from the SF Call and other press sources, including SF Examiner, SF Chronicle, Oakland Tribune, Pacific Wine & Spirit Review

November 23, 1906  SF Call    GREAT WINERY ON BAY SHORE

Home of State Association at Point Molate to Cost Half a Million Dollars.

The California Wine Association has commenced work on its new warehouse and winery at Point Molate, on Richmond Island, which when completed will have cost half a million dollars and will be the most complete and largest wine-making and wine-storage plant in the world. Twenty-five thousand tons of grapes will be handled annually and 10,000,000 gallons of wine will be stored in the vats. The wharf is already complete, giving deep water transportation without the necessity of teaming, and the property is on the Richmond Belt Line, which is operated jointly by the Santa Fe and Southern Pacific, thus furnishing complete transportation facilities.

The grading is now being done for the building, the plans of which are being completed by Hemenway & Miller. It will be a reinforced concrete structure and the plans include bottling and cooperage departments, as well as the wine-presses and storage rooms. A new feature will be the development of the by-products of the process, such as cream of tartar, tartaric acid, and oil and cattle feed from the seeds of the grapes. There are forty-seven acres in the property which the Wine Association has acquired on the shore of the bay, and the buildings which are to be erected there will be the main plant of the association, while the warehouses, as formerly, will be maintained in this city.

[Hemenway & Miller also designed the Italian Swiss Colony wine warehouse (1903), 1265 Battery & Greenwich,  and the C. Schilling & Co. Wine Cellar (1906), 900 Minnesota street, Potrero Point.  Schilling was the only CWA member firm to rebuild within San Francisco, and the cellar still stands, most recently used (2002) as the offices and salesrooms of the Esprit Clothing Company.

  • Sylvester W. Hemenway and Washington J. Miller built the Aronson building, 700 Mission street (1903), the Bullock & Jones/French Bank, 108-110 Sutter street ( 1902 and 1907) and the Regent Hotel, 562-70 Sutter street (1907).   The first two structures are considered to have made use of ornamental details in the style of Chicago architect Louis Sullivan.  Hemenway’s career was cut short by alcohol and family troubles, but Miller continued as a sole practitioner until 1925.  Their firm built any number of substantial commercial warehouse structures.
  • March 1900  Began construction of 5 story building for A. Aronson; Floodberg & McCoffery were the contractors, Vulcan Iron Works did the iron and steel.
  • June 30, 1900  The estate of Samuel Lachman contracted with Charles A. Warren to build a one story and basement warehouse, 137.6 x 137.6 feet, on the south line of Brannen street, $53,000. Hemenway and Miller, architects.
  • January to October, 1900  S.W. Hemenway taught mechanical and architectural drawing at the new Wilmerding School of Industrial Arts.
  • 1902 – 1904  Hemenway and Miller were active in the Golden Gate Commandary of the Knights Templar.  In 1904 they were the architects for building a structure for the Knights Templar on Market street, between Steuart and Tenth.
  • July, 1903  Hemmingway & Miller designed 3 story building for Italian Swiss Colony, 1265 Battery and Greenwich, 137.6 x 137.6 feet.  Richard Keatinge was the contractor, Thomas W. Butcher did the brickwork and A.D. Coutts did the iron and steel.
  • November, 1903  Hemenway & Miller designed a seven story building for the United Realty Company at Third and Sherwood.  Thomas W. Butcher was the Brick contractor; J. Looney the plumbing contractor.
  • December 30, 1909  SF Call  p10  Mother Seeks to Restrain Son.  About Hemenway family problems.

Page & Turnbull Historical Resources Report on the Schilling Building PDF.

May 4, 1906  Friday  San Francsico Call  p3:2   BOATLOAD OF WINE SAVED FROM CELLARS IN SAN FRANCISCO

Fire Engine Being Used to Pump It Out.

Million and a Half Gallons Will Be Saved.

STOCKTON, May 3.— The California Wine Association sent here Monday a barge load of wines saved from the cellars on Fourth and Brannan streets in San .Francisco, and it will be distilled into brandy here. The wine was pumped from the cellar of the burned storage place and into the big barge, which holds 250,000 gallons, and was towed here by the steamboat Leader. Here it was pumped into tank cars and conveyed to the El Pinal winery.

A fire engine is being used to pump out the wine in the San Francisco cellar and it is run through 2000 feet of pipe to the foot of Third street, where it is loaded into tanks. About one and a half million gallons of wine will be saved in this manner.

August 15, 1907  Thursday  Oakland Tribune  p5  Millions To Be Spent on the Western Front

[Compendium Article arbout all the improvement unerway along the East Bay shore.]

….Among other improvements along the bay shore are those at Winehaven. where the California Wine Association has built a 1,500-foot wharf for the accommodation of deep water craft. A number of buildings are being erected. and it is expected thst $l,000,000 will be expended on the plant and the accompanying water front improvements. A belt road will also be constructed to connect with the Santa Fe…

August 31, 1907   Pacific Wine & Spirit Review   p39:1

The crushing plant of the great Winehaven Winery, near Point Richmond, property of the CWA, was dedicated on the 2nd inst. A carload of grapes was crushed to test the new machinery and it was found to be up to the standard of the most exacting.  Everything worked perfectly and the big institution then began receiving grapes by the train load.  Work on the immense reinforced concrete storage warehouse, which is occupy a ground floor space of 185 x 369 feet, is now in full swing.  Two thousand tons of structural steel will be employed.  The building will be three stories in height and will have a storage capacity of ten million gallons of wine. The machinery for the Winehaven plant was manufactured by Toulouse & Delorieux of this city, the leaders in their line on this coast.

January 31, 1908  Pacific Wine & Spirit Review  p49  A MONUMENT TO VITICULTURE

As a souvenir the Californina Wine Association is sending out mounted views of their “Winehaven” on the north shore of San Francisco Bay.  It is a perspective of the grand plant as it will appear when completed.  It will doubtless be one of the great examples of enterprise in its class, and a monument to the viticulture of not only America, but the world.

April 2, 1909  Friday  St. Helena Star  pgs1 and 8  WINE AND VINE NOTES.

Paragraphs of Interest to Viticulturists.


Interesting Visit to the California Wine Associations Extensive Wine Plant.

Through the courtesy of A. R. Morrow, General Superintendent of Cellars for the California Wine Association, we were invited to accompany Anker Miller, Superintendent of Greystone, and Henry Andreson, Cellar Superintendent for Brun & Chaix, Inc., at Oakville, on a trip to Winehaven, the Associations big plant on the Contra Costa shore.

Wednesday of last week was set apart by the California Wine Association as a time to have the Superintendents of its various wineries in different parts of the State visit Winehaven, and in response to the invitation issued about twenty responded and were in readiness to enjoy a day in inspecting the plant at Winehaven which is now in apple-pie order.

In the party were men from Santa Rosa, Windsor, Geyserville, Trenton, Cordelia, Fresno and other places where the Association has cellars and although there were twenty men in the party, less than one-half of the cellars owned or controlled by that corporation were represented.

The Associations private launch met the train at Tiburon and, taking on board those from Sonoma and Napa counties, proceeded on the way to Winehaven. With the party were W. Hanson, General Manager; A. R. Morrow, General Superintendent of Cellars; and Donald Robertson, Superintendent of Supplies. These gentlemen proved to be splendid hosts. They soon had everybody well acquainted and when Winehaven was reached there were no strangers on board the sturdy little launch.

When the fire of 1906 destroyed the cellars of the California Wine Association in San Francisco, it was decided by the management that a location outside of the city but convenient for rail and water shipments should be selected before rebuilding operations should be begun. General Manager Hanson began a quiet tour of investigation and after several months’ time it was decided that a cove of the bay on the Contra Costa county shore, two and one-half miles from Point Richmond and eleven miles from San Francisco, was the best site procurable and offered the most advantages for the erection of an extensive manufacturing and storage plant.

The Association secured forty-seven acres of hill land having a water frontage of 2000 feet. Plans were drawn for the most extensive wine making and storage plant in the world, and in October 1906 active operations were begun.

The first building to be erected was a reinforced concrete structure 240x120 feet in size for wine-making and fermenting purposes. This building is one story but with very high ceiling. It was completed in time for the vintage of 1907 and wine-making was carried on there at that time. There is a fifty-ton crusher of the very latest pattern and worked to its utmost capacity has crushed one and one-half tons of grapes in one minute.       The cellar is so arranged that cars from both the Santa Fe and Southern Pacific tracks can be switched onto a siding in such a convenient manner that four cars can be unloaded at one time. The grapes are carried to the crusher by means of an endless chain carrier. The juice and pomace are taken to the large fermenting tanks through large galvanized pipes which are so arranged that they can be shifted from one tank to another with the minimum amount of labor. At present there are one million gallons of wine stored in this building in addition to the many empty fermenting tanks which have been thoroughly cleansed and are ready for the vintage of 1909.

While this large building was being erected workmen were busy laying sidings for the use of the railroad companies. To make shipping facilities still more convenient electric wires were strung above all the sidings. The Association has its own electric plant and by means of a “pig” the cars when backed into the grounds are moved about as desired. A long pier has also been constructed and tracks laid thereon so that wine can be taken by electric power to steamers lying in wait.

Owing to the hilly character of the country it was necessary to do a great deal of grading, so it was decided to use some of the earth for the purpose of making brick for the principal building. Millions of bricks were made on the premises and work on the principal structure was pushed rapidly forward.

The main building is for storage purposes and is 360x180 feet in size. The materials used are steel for the frame, concrete for foundations and floors, and brick for the exterior walls. There are really three buildings in one as there are two dividing walls to add strength and for safety in case of fire. The lower floor is ten feet below the surface of the ground and for those ten feet all walls are concrete, making this portion of the building water tight. This was done so that in case of large tanks bursting or the repetition of the earthquake of 1906, the wine can be saved. All water used on the first floor must be pumped out. Rows of tanks with 25,000 gallons capacity are on the first floor. All cooperage throughout the building is placed on concrete piers and high enough to enable workmen to fill barrels by gravity. On the second and third floors smaller cooperage is used.

In one department of the building are installed the latest and most improved filters and pasteurizing machinery, through which certain wines are put for treatment. An interesting machine was found in operation on the first floor. It is used in the blending of wines and as seen on the occasion of our visit, was drawing wines from ten 25,000-gallon tanks, all different wines, and, after the blending process was filling two tanks at a time with the blended article. The flow of wine into the machine through each hose is regulated and just the required amount of each variety is thus used in the blend.

The blending of wines is carried on very extensively by the California Wine Association. Samples of wine are submitted to the laboratory in San Francisco from all of the fifty-four cellars owned or controlled by the Association. In this laboratory, which is the most perfectly equipped of any wine laboratory in the world, tests are made and certain blends are decided upon. When this is done, Mr. Morrow goes to Winehaven and has the blends made as decided upon. With such a large equippment and with wines from all over the State the Association is enabled to place many different blends on the market, and orders for any of them can be duplicated at all times.

The plans for the principal building at Winehaven call for the addition of two more wings but these will not be constructed very soon and at present the building is, to all appearances, completed. Three electric elevators are used and the building is lighted throughout by electricity. Over 3000 feet of copper pipe is used in the building. At present there are stored at Winehaven 4,500,000 gallons of wine, and the capacity of the plant is 5,000,000 gallons.

Shipments from this point are made by rail or water to points in all parts of the world, and S. Berndt, the Superintendent and his force of from fifty to seventy-five men, are kept busy. During vintage season the force of workers is materially increased.

At Winehaven there is a fine electric power plant, boilers and dynamos being in duplicate. There is also a fine refrigerator plant, large cooperage repair shop and a good hotel for workmen with accomodations for eighty and where an excellent table is set for employees. The plans for this plant when completed call for an administration building to be built between the two large cellars, a large distillery, a bonded warehouse and a building for bottling wine and grape juice. Several workmen, who have families, have built for themselves on the Associations land, neat little cottages for their use.

In 1907 the California Wine Association engaged in the manufacture of unfermented grape juice on a small scale at one of its cellars in Fresno. Last Fall 300,000 gallons of white and red grape juice were made. This product was shipped in hermetically sealed casks to Winehaven to be bottled and placed in cases. To handle this product the very latest machinery has been installed. The casks of grape juice are subjected to a temperature of thirty-two degrees in the refrigerator plant. The juice is then bottled and pasteurized, being subjected to a temperature of 175 degrees for one hour. The bottles are then labeled and capped by machinery and placed in the cases ready for market. The red grape juice is made from Zinfandels, while the white is from Muscats.

The officers of the Association are much encouraged by the increasing demand for this unfermented grape juice and the output will be increased as circumstances demand.

Throughout the big plant at Winehaven cleanliness prevails. The most modern machinery and every convenience has been installed that will save time in handling or shipping wine. This plant is now the largest of its kind in the world and when it is fully completed and equipped will have capacity of 10,000,000 gallons.

Winehaven is a very interesting place to visit. Many Easterners have been shown through the plant, including the members of the Trans-Mississippi Congress that convened in San Francisco last Fall. All expressed their great surprise at the completeness of facilities and the magnitude of the industry as there shown. Such a visit is an education to any person even though he may reside in a wine-producing section of California.

The offices of the Association are on Townsend street, in San Francisco, near the Southern Pacific Companys passenger depot. Here are forty employes, all of whom are kept busy at tending to the various details of the largest wine business conducted by any one corporation in the world. (article complete)

February 28, 1909    Pacific Wine & Spirit Review  pgs 16 and 17  Wine Association President Makes Rather Gloomy Report

Report to Stockholders of California Wine Association for Year Ending December 31, 1908.


The new establishment  at Winehaven is admirably  adapted  to  the  purpose of your  business.   The storage cellars  are of steel,  concrete  and  brick  construction  and  are  as  proof against  fire and earthquake as human ingenuity can suggest.

The place is a terminal point  for  all  eastern  shipments  by  railroad  and  at contiguous  docks  the  largest  ocean  vessels  can  take  cargo  safely  and  conveniently.        

An electric railway  connects  the buildings  and  wharves. The  transfer  of  wine  from  country  cellars  in  tank  cars  enables  the  movement and  handling  of  wine  to  be  accomplished  in  the  most  economical  manner

Every facility  has  been  provided  for  effecting  the  savings  that  are  so  essential  to  the  profitable  conduct  of  a  business  which  must  depend  more  upon volume  than  upon  a  large  margin  per  gallon.  

The property, which  embraces  an  area  of  forty-seven  acres,  fronting  upon the  Bay  of  San  Francisco,  should  provide  ample  room  for  the  expansion  of business  which  future  decades  may  bring.

An analysis  of  the  cost  of  the  improvements — in  spite  of  the  fact  that hey  were  largely  erected  at  a  time  when  materials  and  wages  were  very high — will,  your  directors  confidently  believe,  compare  very  favorably  with buidings  which  have  been  erected  since  conditions  became  more  normal, Full  details  of  this  work,  and  the  costs  thereof,  have  been  prepared  for  your inspection.

March 5, 1910  SF Call  p16:6  GREAT WINERY AT END OF PENINSULA.  California Wine Association Has Selected Richmond for an Immense

     One of the largest of Contra Costa County's industrial establishments is the plant of the California wine association located at the extreme end of the Richmond peninsula. Winehaven.

     In 1907 the company secured a tract of land approximating some 47 acres and began laying the foundation of what is today one of the largest wineries in the world.

     The construction of a handsome building was immediately started, to be utilized by the employees as a hotel. This is on the brow of the hill overlooking the bay. It gives one the impression that it was originally intended for a summer hotel, artistic in appearance with broad verandas.

     Below, close to the water's edge, are situated the several magnificent buildings, which house the crushing, cooperage and storage department of this immense industry, all class A structures, with steel frames, covered with reinforced concrete. The entire plant is operated electrically.


     The company erected a power house on the grounds in which are installed duplicate sets of electric generators, directly connected to powerful engines.

     The Belt Line railway passes the winery and forms the connecting link in shipping by the two great systems of railways, the Santa Fe and the Southern Pacific.

     A wharf 2000 feet in length facilitates the handling of freight from the various lines of steamers that make their landing here.

     The Winehaven plant is designed for a crushing capacity of 23,000 tons of grapes and the storage of 10,000,000 gallons of wine.


The California Wine Association owns vineyards and operates wineries approximating 40 in number, situated in Napa, Sonoma, Yolo, Solano, Contra Costa, Alameda, Kings, Tulare and San Bernardino counties, which comprise all qualities of soil, temperature, and location. In this way the great possibilities of      California as a grape growing and wine producing state are covered.

The trade of the California Wine Association is worldwide, including the United States, Mexico, Central and South America, the Philippines, Hawaiian Islands, China, Japan, and even the wine producing districts of Europe.

August 22, 1910  Monday  Oakland Tribune  p4    Remarkable Growth of Richmond.


Winehaven! Isn't it a beautiful name? Hasn't it the most deliciously suggestive sound? It makes you think of a little nook by the sea. with blue skies overhead, and trees and grass and flowers and winding paths and seats beneath an arbor and tha eool splash of fountains. Well, it isn't quite like that, though it is by the sea. It isn't a little nook at all, it is a great slope stretching up from the bay, rising gradually to the hills which form the walls of a huge natural amphitheater. Down close to the water's edge are the great buildings covering many acres of ground, great steel and concrete structures, real Class "A" buildings.

The Calwa wines are known over the entire world. The winery is the largest in the world.

April 23, 1911  Sunday  San Francsico Examiner  p40  City of Richmond News.

The California Wine Association will spend $100,000 in improving its plant at Winehaven, in Richmond. This is a small sum compared to the magnitude of the plant, but it is said to be only a start in extensive additions, which include a cooperage department.  A new wing for an additional fermenting cellar will be added and from 8,000 to 10,000 tons more of grapes will be crushed during the season.

 An effort is being made to have the electric car line extended from its present terminus at the quarries to Winehaven, so that the many visitors now going there by steamer may return through the city of Richmond.

September 17, 1911  Sunday  San Francsico Examiner  p30  Harbor Road Gap Is Now Closed.

Building of Connecting Link at Richmond Is Benefit to Water Front.

[Special dispatch to the Examiner.]

RICHMOND, September 15. The building of the short railroad link on the Richmond water front that will connect the present terminus of the United Properties system, just beyond the Standard Oil docks, with Winehaven, will give Richmond a continuous line, through the Belt road, around Point San Pablo, along the waterfront and into the heart of the city.

The Belt road, connecting with the Santa Fe and the Southern Pacific, now runs around Point San Pablo and down as far as Wlnehaven, reaching the large plants and its owm docks. Visitors to these plants and especially to Winehaven will, by the connection, have a comfortable and direct route through the main part of the city.

The company to build the connecting link has been incorporated by Edwin Blake and F. H. Bilger, who own the frontage over which the right of way lies. It is said they will retain all property rights and will lease the extension to the United Properties Company.

With the gap in this water front trackage closed, there is excellent opportunity for a road to come across from the Marin side by ferry at the narrow channel at McNear's Point. It is believed preparations are being made to bring another road into the east bay section by this route.

Building and realty sales are active in Richmond. Los Angeles parties are preparing to build a class A business structure on a fifty-foot frontage they have bought at Macdonald avenue and Eleventh street. Five other modern business buildings are being finished.
The new central postoffice is well under way.

November 4, 1911  Saturday  Oakland Tribune  p16   2500 TONS OF GRAPES CRUSHED AT WINEHAVEN

RICHMOND. Nov. 4. The grape crushing season at the California Wine Association's plant at Winehaven has closed. During the season 2500 tons of grapes were put through the crushing process, giving a yield of a million and a quarter gallons of wine. This is the first season when  crushing of the grapes has been done at Winehaven.

Heretofore the fruit has been crushed at the plants in the interior and the product shipped to the winery in liquid form. However, it was found by the experiment this year that the plan of shipping the grapes to Richmond and crushing them here is an economical one and the officers of the concern are greatly pleased with the results.

May 17, 1913  San Francisco Examiner  p13  Winehaven, Greatest Plant of Kind in World, Located on City's Front

[With photo of the central building of Winehave plant.]

RICHMOND, May 16. That Richmond, home of the Standard Oil refinery, Pullman palace car shops, Santa Fe shops, furniture factories, steel plants, porcelain ware and bathtub works and various other industrial activities that embrace the field of heavier manufacturing, should also be the center of the wine industry of California is something of an indication of how complete are her facilities, which attract everything from steel to the more poetic industry of wine making.

Winehaven, plant of the California Wine Association, on Richmond's water front, is the largest winery in the world. The site of the plant covers 100 acres, some portion of this being planted to vines for experimental purposes. The group of larger buildings are at the water's edge, a wharf for shipping extending from them. In these buildings, are stored 12,000,000 gallons of wine. There are ten miles of passageways between the rows of vats and casks, many of the former being of 25,000 gallons' capacity.

The plant was laid off on plans calling for an expenditure of $3,000,000. Great enlargements are contemplated and extensive additions are under way, Including one new concrete building 400 feet long. Several millions of dollars have recently been added to the capital stock for the purchase of the Italian Swiss Colony and its wineries and the making of improvements.

Grapes brought by river boats and trains are crushed at Winehaven and vast quantities of wines are shipped in from all over California for aging and blending.

Winehaven is at the terminus of the Belt railroad.  It ships from its own wharves and from those of the belt railroad. Its products are sent all over the world.

December 18, 1913  Thursday  Oakland Tribune p10 SEWER SYSTEM PLANNED FOR WINEHAVEN DISTRICT

 RICHMOND. Dec. 18. The California Wine Association is preparing to expend an additional $50,000 upon the improvement to its big plant of Winehaven on the local waterfront. The project under way will include a complete sewer system for the plant and the hundred cottages of the employes.

A fine clubhouse, fire equipment and other features will also be installed. All of the buildings are of reinforced concrete. From the comprehensive size of the sewer system, the company is evidently Intending at no distant date to greatly enlarge Its $3,000,000 plant.


RICHMOND, Dec. 18. – Poundmaster Henry Smith had an exciting time today in capturing a supposedly mad dog which held the sidewalk at the corner of Barrett avenue and Sixteenth street and prevented pedestrians from passing.

After an hour's trial Smith lured the animal into a corner and threw his net over the animal and bundled it off to the pound, where it had been placed under observation. This makes the 48th dog taken here during the past few weeks that the anti-rabis crusade has  been under way.

March 1, 1919  Saturday  San Francisco Examiner  p17 CALWA'S ULTIMATE DESTINY.

The wonderful financial showing made by the Distillers’ Security Corporation in its annual report – published in this column yesterday – gave rise to a gcneral discussion in the flnancial district as to whether the California Wine Association would model its conduct along the general lines which have proved so pecuniarily successful in the case of the so-called "Whisky Trust."

Readers of the  Distillers' report were particularly impressed with the fact that this  gigantic corporation already has begun the work of changing its distilleries into food manufacturing plants of one kind and another and that the company has called a meeting of its Stoekholders for March 19 to vote upon changing the name of the company from the Distillers' Securities Corporation to the United States Food Products Corporation. Unlike the California Wine Association, this big concern has not kept its stockholders in  the dark as to its earnings in 1918, but on the contrary, has published a very full financial statement, and has taken the stockholders into its confidence in explaining precisely what it is doing, and expects to do.

Although the influenza epidemic was nation-wide and the Distillers' Securities Corporation is five or six times bigger than the California Wine Association, it did not find it necessary to assigrn the "influenza" as a valid reason for not issuing its regular annual report,

It was learned yesterday that the California Wine Association is making   certain changes at this moment to its plant at Winehaven, but that this work is being carried on with great secrecy, and the exact nature of this new construction could not be ascertained.
The prevailing opinion along Califomia street is that the Wine Association, sometime in the near but indefinite future, will notify the stock holders that it proposes to change its name and that it proposes to manufacture certain products, such as grape-juice, oil. vinegar, etc., and that the changes in the plant at Winehaven are connected with this departure.

It may be that, within a month or two, a meeting will be called to vote on the proposition of changing the name of the California Wine Association to, let us say, the California Grape Juice, Vinegar and Pickled Olives Association, and that the stoekholders will once more gather at Winehaven for that "feast of reason and flow of soul" and other thiings, that was an annual function in the good old davs before prohibition became imminent.

Indeed, for several years, the only return the stockholders got for their investment was this yearly jamboree at Winehaven – officially known as the annual meeting." (complete)

July 1, 1919  Tuesday  San Francisco Examiner  p2  53 Liquor Stores Close in Richmond {By Universal Service.]

RICHMOND, June 30. – Saloons of Richmond closed tonight in an uneventful manner, there being no especial demonstration to mark the passing of the fifty-three places where liquor was sold. Profiting bv criticism of the saloon opening on the night the armstice signing was announced Chief of Police Charles H. Walker and members of the city council kept the lid tightly screwed down.  Most of those who wished to celebrate the event went across the bay. 

By way of novelty the employees of the California Wine Association served beer instead of wine at the banquet given Saturday night to commemorate the passing out of business of the big winery at Winehaven.

January 3, 1920  Saturday  San Francisco Examiner  p17  More Wine Moving

The steamship Xenia, operated by E. C. Evans & Sons, went on the berth yesterday to load a cargo of 12,000 barrels of wine for Hamburg. The greater part of the cargo will be loaded here, and the remainder consisting of 4,000 barrels, put aboard the steamer at Winehaven. The cargo will be worth $700,000.

January 16, 1920  Friday  San Francisco Examiner  p3  Winehaven's Big Tanks Are Emptied at Last

RICHMOND, Jan. 15. – Heavy shipments of wine to the Orient and other points outside the United States recently have so cleaned out the big winery of the California Wine Association at Winehaven that it will enter the period of prohibition tonight with no loss of products occasioned by the operation of the Volstead act, according to Superintendent Frank Wilson. The only wines now remaining at the plant, according to Wilson, are those which can be legitimately retained for the sacramental and medicinal trade.

It was further announced that the big $2,000,000 plant would not close down, but would continue to operate as a plant for the manufacture of grape juice and other fruit juices. The number of men at the plant will necessarily have to be reduced, Wilson said. Checking up of the stock on hand under the Federal provisions will start tomorrow.

That the property will be used more extensively than for the soft drink industry is indicated by large improvements which have been going on at the wharves of the plant for the past year. The wharf has been extended out into the bay many feet and been rebuilt, using huge concrete piles made on the bay shore at Richmond.

January 17, 1920  Saturday  San Francisco Examiner  p2  Winehaven Refuses To Sell on Options

RICHMOND, Jan. 16. – There has been "nothing doing" in the contract option business at the California Wine Association's big winery, at Winehaven. Superintendent Frank Wilson of the winery has refused to handle the orders under the option system.
This was not because there were no callers. The road about Winehaven was thronged with automobiles yesterday and today, but those who sought to secure wine on options were disappointed.

February 10, 1920 Tuesday  San Francisco Examiner  p21 CALWA SURPLUS IS $7,142,140.

Statement to Stockholders Shows Corporation Has on Hand 6,750,500 Gals. Wine.

The first financial statement issued by the California Wine Association since July, 1918, was mailed yesterday to the stockholders.  It shows a liquidating value for the common stock of $196.60, but this does not include hidden assets lurking in the balance sheet – a subject discussed elsewhere fully.

The company possessed on December 31, 1919, in cash and its equivalent, $9,827,593.08, of which $1,065,422.78 was actual cash, and $8,762,170.33 represented by Liberty Loan, State and municipal bonds.

The actual surplus, after allowing $7,893,400, that is, par, for the common stock, is stated at $7,142,130.58, thus bringing the total available for the common stock up to $14,535,539.68, divisible among 73,934 shares.

In addition to 8,905,292 gallons of wine in foreign countries, or in transit, the association carried over, on January 17, last, when national prohibition became operative, 6,750,500 gallons of wine on hand in America – most of it here in California…

During the vear A. D. 1918. more than 2,000,000 gallons of grape juice were made in this State by the association, all of which it is expected to sell at a fair profit.  It is hoped to largely increase the sales of this product the current year, and to that end a cooper shop, and other facilities to enlarge the lnduatry, have been etsablished at Wine-haven….

February 14, 1920  Saturday  San Francsico Chronicle  p8  Richmond’s Harbor Improvements

….The elaborate concrete wharves at the $3,000,000 Winehaven plant are being pushed along.   It is now said that one of the biggest canneries in the State will be established In the former wine plant…

August 14, 1920  Saturday  San Francisco Examiner  p8  Winehaven Is Made Bigger Than Ever.

RICHMOND, Aug. 13. – The question that followed the advent of prohibition, "What is to become of Winehaven, largest winery in the world?" is being answered. This great Richmond plant is being made bigger than ever for the manufacture of grape juice and wines for sacramental and non-beverage purposes.

An extensive refrigerating plant has been installed, the Fresno cooperage plant has been moved to Winehaven and installed in a large new building, and the new Winehaven concrete wharves with water for deep sea steamers have been completed.

Development of the Winehaven docks is one of the important improvements of the year on Richmond's outer harbor, the new city and Government project extending from the Santa Fe terminal wharves around Point Nicholl to the foot of Third street.

1976 and Later

February 17, 1976  Tuesday  Oakland Tribune  p21   Marine Research Lab Rescued


 The Marine Ecology Research laboratory at Point Molate, foundering last summer on financial shoals, is alive and well in the old Winehaven winery building on the shores of San Francisco Bay.

And Donald F. Lundstrom, coordinator of science, enviromental and secondary education-for the Alameda County School Department, thinks the laboratory is riding a high tide toward future funding.

Few felt positive about the laboratory's chances as the 1975 academic year drew to a close.Federal money funding the unique classroom that brought more than 12,000 Bay area students closer to their water-acclimated environment were exhausted, and a search for local funding was yielding little more than frustration.

Equipment used to measure 'pollution, solar radiation, spawning habits, temperature variations, salinity, turbidity, food availability, water velocity, oxygen, phytoplankton, zooplankton and energy-food relationships, lay dormant

But by the end of October, the six-year-old laboratory had received $20,000 from the Alameda County Board of Supervisors, and, after some delay, $12,000 in clerical help and supplies from their Contra Costa County counterparts…. (balance of text not transcribed)

February 23, 1977  Wednesday  Oakland Tribune   p52   An Old “Castle” on the Bay in the Spirit of the Rhine.

By Marina Gottschalk, Tribune Richmond Bureau

Seeing a Rhineland castle on the east shore of San Francisco Bay can be pleasant if somewhat startling. But the massive red brick buildings which once comprised the Winehaven Winery (at one time the largest in the world) do resemble a castle, and the winery itself played an important, sometimes humorous, part in the history of the area.

The Calfornia Wine Association (Calwa), a group of San Joaquin grape growers, bought 47 acres of properly at Point Molate in 1906. The site was centrally located and wine could be shipped via rail ship. Wlnehaven was in full operation by 1909.

The small village that surrounded the winery complex included a duster of small cottages, a hotel, school, post office and steam generating plant. The winery was so successful it is contended that one year it “saved” France by supplying that country with 11 million gallons of "French wine" when the grape crop there was poor.

Point Molate was a popular site for picnics, dancing and ball playing on weekends and holidays, and families would come from nearby cities to spend the day then and tour the winery. Joaquin Miller, the poet, his wife, and daughter, Juanita, were among the early visitors. Juanita Miller brought along a bag af eucalyptus pods and their guide planted them. The-trees that now surround the property are of the right size and age to have grown from those pods.

The scene wss prosperous and idyllic at Winehaven until October 1919, when the Eighteenth .Amendment – prohibition – was passed. Only one of the 109 eligible voters at the winery voted for it. The superintendent vowed he vould fire tbe man if he could find him, but the "traitor" lost his job along with everyone else when the winery was dosed.

The association struggled to continue operation by making sacramental and medicinal wines and Cahva grape juice. But smaller wineries could more cheaply produce the limited amount of wine that was needed, and there was not much demand for the grape juice. The winery was closed again and the vats sealed. But there was still activity. Bootleggers were constantly smuggling the wine out and prohibition agents were trying to stop them.

Finally, the agents ordered the corks knocked out of the vats and 240,000 gallons of wine flowed into the bay in one day- Fishermen picked drunken fish out af the water by hand the next day.

Attempts to put the winery back into business were unsuccessful as lbe cost would have ben prohibitive. Winehaven remained idle until 1941, when the U.S. Navy bought 401 acres at Point Molate. including Wlnehaven, and turned it into a fuel supply and storage facility. The Navy also chose it because of its central location. It now supplies fuel to the Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard commands along the California coast and east to Fallon, Nev.

Point Molate is home for 29 Navy and Marine families, approximately 160 deer,, assorted small wildlife and sea life. The families live in the small cottages the winery workers used to live .

But only on a military base could one find a corner where the two intersecting streets have such diverse names as "Burma Road and "Warehouse Road.

Lt. Dwight Bohn, director of the Point Molate Fuel Department and his family live in the superintendent's or "winemaster's" bouse. " It’s the best lieutenants's quarters in the navy," he said. 

The old 29-room Winehaven hotel was razed yean ago after it was declared an attractive nuisance. Last year, a mini Bicentennial Park was built on the site for the enjoyment of the children.

The city of Richmond leases 17 acres of Bay front property from the Navy for Point Molate Beach. Another attraction is the Castro Point Railroad (across the road from the beach ) which is maintained by the Pacific Railroad Association. In addition, there is a small disease vector and ecology control laboratory and the Marine Ecology Research Laboratory located in the old warehouse. 

The Navy with the help of the Winehaven Historical Study Committee, a citizen's group headed by Thomas Butts of Richmond, recently nominated the Wlnehaven complex and a surrounding portion of property for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places, a designation which would help preserve the site. The California State Historical Preservation officer has endorsed the nomination. (complete)

Photo captions :  Castle like buildings and workmen’s cottages are show in a 1941 photograph of former Winehaven winery.

Brad Haskell works at the pier’s oil pipeline complex.  The Navy stores more than one million barrels of fuel at Point Molate.
Today the winery is a Navy fuel depot under the direction of Lt. Dwight Bohm shown here.

[Sidebar to above story]  Navy to Store Clean Fuels at Point Molate.

Tribune Richmond Bureau

The U.S. Navy stores more than one million barrels of fuel, including gasoline, aviation gas, turbine and jet fuel, at Pt. Molate.

"In the future, we will stock only diesel and Jet turbine tad," said Lt. Dwigbt Bohm,. director if the facility. The Navy is converting to then cleaner fuel for the fleet.

A number of improvements have been made since the Nayy decided upgrade the installation in 1971. Last month the 25,000 ton Military Sealift Command ship Taluga became the first tanker to use  the newly refurbished pier, which has cost nearly $4 million since work was begun on it in December 1975. Completion is due by the end of next month. 

The new pier will accommodate ships up to 800 feet long. Its north and south ends will be demolished to make it safer and less costly to maintain.

Other improvements at Point Molate include a sophisticated $1 million waste-water treatment system built last year. The water that goes back into the bay is so clean you can drink it," Bohm said.

Later this year, some fuel-handling equipment will be automated to help reduce the possibility of oil spills, and a fuel oil reclamation facility will allow the reuse of fuel contaminated with water, sediment and other products.

"What is being practiced here is quality and quantity control," said Lt. Bohm. " The new pier and the other improvements is like coming out of the Dark Ages. "

June 11, 1986  Wednesday  Oakland Tribune   p17  THE HIDDEN PARADISE OF POINT MOLATE.

Navy Families Enjoy Living at Secluded, Historic Site.

By Sam Broadnax, Special to the Tribune.

POINT MOLATE –  At the turn of the century, Point Molate could proudly boast of an international accomplishment, but the achievement of that time wffl limited to a single distinction.

It was the site of Winehaven, one of the largest wineries in the world until Prohibition put the on the squeeze on squeezin's. At its height, Winehaven had an annual fine wine output of 12 million gallons and 67 varieties.

The second boost to Point Molate’s importance came in 1941, when the Navy stepped in and purchased more than 400 acres, including Winehaven. Molate was subsequently built into one of the U.S. Navy’s major fuel depots on the West Coast.

And although the winery has produced no wine since the early 1940s, it has regained some of its fame by being recorded in the National Register of Historical Sites. 

Winehaven officially became a historic site in October 1978, following a year of efforts by Lncretia Edwards, Barbara Vincent, Louise Hammond, architect Tom Butt and the willingness of the U.S, Navy.

All of the original wine-making buildings .have been kept intact and maintained and are used primarily for storage by the Navy.
The huge, turreted, brick fermentation building is now used as an aviation parts warehouse, while another ivy-covered building serves as a base administration office.

In addition to all the preserved wine-making buildings, 30 homes constructed for Winehaven employees were part of the total package.

And for the Navy families who now inhabit the completely refurbished dwellings, of Molate Village, the secluded base just north of the Richmond San Rafael Bridge, Molate represents a hidden paradise, the Navy’s version of Shangri-La.

Molate is an honest-to-goodness Navy base that doesn’t look like one, and the housing units are open to Navy families who qualify for two- or three-bed-room quarters. The wine master’s unit is traditionally reserved for the director of the fuel depot.

Lt. Commander Don Oubre is director of the Molate Fuel Depot, and his wife Judy says she loves the area and their huge home.

“Its just a realy nice area – peaceful and really pretty.  We don’t really feel isolated because were close to Marin County and we can go to Hilltop Mall,” Mrs. Oubre said.

The Oubres have two preschool children whose everyday playmates are from among the other 29 Navy families in the tiny community.

“We have only preschool and elementary school-age childen here; theres no junior high or older teenagers,” Mrs. Oubre said.

There is no public transportation to or within Pt. Molate, and without a car travel is difficult. “You have to have a car, otherwise you really would feed isolated. If you have only one and your husband uses it for work, its either call a taxi or rely on your neighbors.” Mrs. Oubre explained.

Molate is such a “woodsy” place that for a time there was trouble with foxes raiding the garbage cans. And like country living in other places, Molate has more than its fair share of deer who nibble up new plantings. Theres also plenty of pheasants, raccoons and rabbits.

The Navy hasn’t been greedy about restricting all of Molate’s natual beauty for itself, even though it is a base. Molate Beach, one of only two waterfront beach sites in the City of Richmond, has been leased from the Navy by the city. But unlike Keller, the other public beach, Molate is accessible only by vehicle, and has a playground area for kids, complete with slides and swings.

To round out the services needed for this Tom Thumb community, Molate has its own fire department and a security force that patrols the few streets.

  Mrs. Oubre is quick to raise what she calls a typical Navy wifes voice in praise of Molate with its Bay views, seclusion and fenced yards. But if she had a choice, she says she would rather live at Alameda Naval Air Station.

“They say its crowded in Alameda, but I’d rather be with more people and have all the services of clinics, a family service center, a big Post Exchange and a commissary. I’d rather have that than this big, beautiful old historic house with the Bay view.” 

Mrs. Oubre believes that a crowded schedule of activities like that offered by Alameda’s Navy Base would be more beneficial for Navy wives whose husbands are on a deployment – even more than living in the paradise of Point Molate. (complete)

Figure 1 - The definitive = history of CWA, Peninou and Unzelman

Figure 2 - Winehaven Color Poster

Figure 3 - Toulouse and Delorieux basket Press, SF 1895

Figure 4 - View of bay from Winehaven, Oakland Tribune, June 11, 1986

Figure 5 - Winehaven 1908, Gail Unzelman

Figure 6- Winehaven 1910

Figure 7 - Winehaven 1915 postcard

Figure 8 - Winehaven 1918

Figure 9 - Winehaven 1941

Figure 10 - Winehaven barrels 1914

Figure 11 - Winehaven Building 1, SF Examiner, May 13, 1913

Figure 12 - Winehaven postcard

Figure 13 - Winehaven 1941, Oakland Tribune February 22, 1977

Figure 14 – tank car, 1918

Figure 15 - Winehaven, Oakland Tribune, June 11, 1986