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The Endangered 8: 2024 

San José's Most Threatened Architectural and Cultural Landmarks

Almaden Winery Cellar


5533 Le Franc Drive


Built 1850s





Established in 1852 by French immigrant Éthienne Thée, the Almaden Vineyards were California’s first commercial winery and famously produced the champagne served at the inaugural balls of Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy. While most of the winery was sadly destroyed in a 1989 fire, its original c. 1850s cellar house with early twentieth-century additions survived intact and was incorporated into the surrounding Almaden Winery Park in 1998. Since then, it has remained vacant and prone to vandalism and the elements. The non-profit Friends of the Winemakers has long advocated for the establishment of a regional wine museum in the City Landmark building but have yet to secure needed funding or development approvals.

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