By Kathy Chouteau
Point Richmond may be getting its first-ever wine bar. On Thurs., May 6, the City of Richmond’s Planning Commission is set to review an application from Marlina Miller—identified in an Agenda Report as the applicant and operator of The Grape Nest Wine Bar at 229 Tewksbury Ave. in Point Richmond—for a Conditional Use Permit to serve alcohol at that location.
It would be the first wine retail shop with tasting in the Point Richmond neighborhood, per the report.
As its name suggests, plans are for The Grape Nest Wine Bar to operate as a wine retail shop and tasting room in a small, 200 sq. ft. commercial space facing Tewksbury Ave. Two counters and stools will be available for costumers and, in the future, plans are for tables and chairs to be placed outside the building in the rear area of the property, according to the report.
Miller identified herself in her business plan as a 13-year veteran of the wine industry with “a wealth of knowledge and connections to wine country.” Indicating that she wants to “rejuvenate the city” in the post-COVID-19 era, Miller added that her “small business will not only rejuvenate the community but work as a catalyst to the hard-hit Napa Valley wine business, who find themselves in a precarious, ever-changing industry.”
According to a staff comment in the report, “the business will promote the economic vitality of this area by enhancing business diversity that will be available in Point Richmond, particularly at this time of economic stagnation due to COVID-19. Having wine tasting at a wine shop provides customers with an opportunity to try a wine before they purchase it and could lead to enhanced sales.”
Aside from City staff looking favorably upon her application, Miller also has the backing of the Point Richmond Neighborhood Council (PRNC). The council voted to support Miller’s ABC permit at its March 31 General Membership Meeting, while PRNC President Peter Thelin also stated in an email to Miller that was included as an attachment in the City report that “we find Marlina to be a cheerful, friendly, business and community-minded individual. We at the PRNC are sure she will be a conscientious owner and manager and her business will make a valuable addition to our community.”
So far, there’s no word on when the wine bar would open if Miller’s application is approved Thursday.