Barrels of fun: Richmond has a new wine bar

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Barrels of fun: Richmond has a new wine bar
A new wine bar has opened at 1401 Marina Way South in Richmond.

A new wine bar has opened near the Richmond waterfront, not far from the Rosie the Riveter Visitor’s Center.

Since 2017, Noel Diaz, owner of Purity Wine, has operated a winemaking cooperative at 1401 Marina Way South.

“Having a wine bar was not part of the business plan,” Diaz said. “It’s that the neighbors would stop in and ask us when we would open.”

And so Diaz developed a sun-lit space into a cozy wine bar, which was intentionally designed to feel more like a living room than a traditional bar. The space is connected to the facility’s sizable warehouse, which is stacked high with wine barrels.

The wine bar is currently open Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. It is permitted by they city to open seven days a week, and hours will expand as the business matures, Diaz said.

A variety of wines are served, not just those made in the facility. Small bites are offered for now, but Diaz hopes one day patrons will be able to pick up a bottle and provisions for dinner on their way home from work.

Diaz, an family man from Albany, began making wine in 2013 after two decades in the restaurant business. His focus is on making natural, organic wines that are both high quality and reasonably priced.

The name Purity Wine means, “Whatever the grape is, we don’t manipulate it,” Diaz said.

“I try to stay out of the way as much as possible,” he said.

Diaz grew up in the Kern County city of Delano. His parents were migrant farmers. He came to the Bay Area for film school — and to “get as far away from the farm as possible.”

“The irony is now I manage vineyards,” he said.

He started his brand in a facility on Treasure Island, then went looking for a sizable, affordable space. He couldn’t find that in Oakland or Berkeley, but he found an ideal spot in Richmond. Its closeness to the Bay keeps the space, and wines, cool, and Diaz has enjoyed working with his landlord and the city.

He aims for his wine bar to become a popular locals spot that he can lend toward community functions.

And he doesn’t see his winery as just a winery, but as an artsy bastion for winemakers who may not be able to afford all the equipment.

“The wine bar is the study, and the winery is the studio,” Diaz said.

Meanwhile, Purity Wine’s brand is gradually gaining notoriety. In 2017, Diaz entered into a lease to farm a vineyard in Calaveras County. His brand can be found at widely known spots like Monterey Market in Berkeley and San Francisco’s Mission Cheese and Tartine Bakery.

“I’m immersed in what I do,” he said. “This is not a job, it’s a way of life,” Diaz said.

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