A new winery and tasting room will be breaking ground in Petaluma’s downtown as soon as this fall.
Adobe Road Winery is owned by Kevin Buckler, perhaps better known for his career in the racing world. His new venture will be located right on the riverfront, at the corner of First and C streets.
The business will be housed in 15,000 square feet of space in the building that now contains Bay Bridge Garage.
Buckler, 57, first started Adobe Road Winery with a few friends in Petaluma in 1998, sourcing grapes from all over Sonoma and Napa counties, just as he was starting to make a name for himself as a race car driver.
“It started out as a project ... one barrel of zin, one barrel of cab,” Buckler said.
The winery has grown to a 4,000-case operation. Its production facility is in the same South McDowell Boulevard property that houses his racing business: The Racer’s Group-Aston Martin Racing. TRG operates the only Aston Martin racing program in the United States, and the team has earned 124 podium finishes in major North American sports car competitions — the third-highest total in history, according to the company’s website.
Wine, though, is Buckler’s other passion. And to say he’s invested in revving up business would be an understatement: The new project is expected to cost in excess of $7 million.
“We decided to not use an investment bank because I wanted to hand select my partners,” Buckler said. “It’s about putting together an A team.”
His A-team roster so far includes real estate investors, food and wine people and more.
Since Adobe Road’s early days of “stumbling around from custom crush facility to custom crush facility,” the winery’s wine club has grown from zero to almost 1,000 members. His wines are distributed at events and to a handful of restaurants, and can be bought online.
The building will house the winery, a tasting room, kitchen, visitor’s center, banquet facility, and a car museum, where he plans on holding car-related events.
He first reached out to Mayor David Glass about six months ago, when the idea was in its very early stages.
“When you’re starting to attract businesses that are relocating from the square in Sonoma — the heart of Sonoma Wine Country — to the heart of Petaluma, that really tells you just how attractive the area is,” Glass said. “I think it’s going to be a great amenity for our local economy. It’s going to be a great ambiance for the downtown. It’s exactly what the downtown ought to be building.”
Buckler has enlisted St. Helena-based Signum Architecture, which has designed a handful of other wineries in the area, including CADE Winery in Angwin and Odette Estate Winery in Napa.
The space, he said, will reflect a “modern-day warehouse look,” with polished concrete flooring and roll-up, garage-style doors that open to the waterfront.
Buckler said he hopes to be open by summer 2017. In the meantime, though, he will be opening up a new, smaller tasting room in the Great Petaluma Mill on Petaluma Boulevard between B and Water streets.
After a slight remodel, that space will open this July and stay open until the larger space opens, when he’ll close the small one.