All About Adobe Road Winery
Wine is not all about speed, and that was exactly why it appealed to champion GT racing team leader Kevin Buckler. At the Adobe Road tasting room in downtown Petaluma, I’m told that Buckler values the slow and steady process of making wine. As for high points and awards—it doesn’t hurt that Adobe Road wines have scored those, too.
Petaluma Pit Stop
Founder of Petaluma-based The Racers Group (TRG), which is currently the North American team for Aston Martin Racing, Buckler went commercial with wine in 2002 after he and three buddies made too much wine as a hobby. Ten barrels may not be much for a winery, but it’s a bit much to drink and give away to friends and relations. At the time, the operation was located off Adobe Road, which is named for the Rancho Petaluma adobe that General Mariano Vallejo built in the 1830s and is a state park today. So they called it Adobe Road Winery.
Among other wins in his role as driver and owner, Buckler placed one overall win and four class wins at the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, and wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and 2002 Porsche World Cup Champion.
At the TRG shop across town, Buckler and his team perform painstaking but, to many of us, strange automotive feats: I’m told that after having recently received a brand-new 2017 Porsche RSR, a $600,000 luxury race car flown in the belly of a Lufthansa jet, “the first thing they do is tear it down to the posts.”
The worlds of wine and racing will come together in Adobe Road’s waterfront conference center, winery and car museum that’s scheduled for a 2018 opening. Located just around the corner from the temporary tasting room, the California Mission-styled building will be the first of its kind north of San Francisco.
Check out an artist’s rendering of the future winery, in context with historic views of Petaluma, while sampling current vintages of Adobe Road wines in the brick Great Petaluma Mill, a warren of shops and offices by the Petaluma River. (Previously, Adobe Road operated a tasting room on the Sonoma plaza. They are now only in Petaluma.)
High-performance vineyards are the key to Adobe Road wines, like the 2014 Bacigalupi Vineyard Russian River Valley Chardonnay ($48), which comes from the vineyard that helped California take the prize at the Paris Tasting of 1976. It’s classic Bacigalupi, a lean and subtle Chardonnay with a bite of oak but light on the butter.
Cherry red, the soft and bright 2013 Kemp Vineyard Dry Creek Valley Grenache ($45) could win converts to this varietal, which is planted worldwide but still rare in Sonoma County.
Because its substantial tannins are wrapped in plush, plum fruit, the cocoa nib and mint-scented 2013 Bavarian Lion Vineyard Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($78) merely purrs on the palate.
In top vineyards of Bordeaux, the Sémillon grape shares top billing with Sauvignon Blanc. A key ingredient in the “stickies,” the renowned sweet wines of Sauternes, it also makes a fine dry wine, but is somewhat exotic in California, where wineries skip straight to the Sauvignon Blanc. While Adobe Road’s 2014 Knights Valley Sémillon ($35) may bring honey-drizzled white raisins and butterscotch to mind, the full-bodied wine has a fine, dry finish.
Hit the Road
Ask about TRG’s high-performance driving experiences if you’re in a position to hit the track in a big way at the wheel, for instance, of an Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT4—group and individual experiences start at $5,000.
If you’re just in the mood to slow down and stroll along the Petaluma waterfront and find lunch, continue through the mill and then explore to the north or south along the trestle, or just stop at the Apple Box café to rev up on coffee.
Details: Open daily, 11am–7pm. Tasting fee, $15–$35.
Check out more fun things to do while in Petaluma.