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Adobe Road Winery hosts demolition party at future Petaluma riverfront site

On Your Corner

This story is part of a new regular feature spotlighting residential and commercial developments going up across Sonoma County. Look for future stories about the projects rising near you, and contact the writer with questions about ongoing construction or planned developments in your neighborhood.

What: Adobe Road Winery

Where: Petaluma, corner of C and First streets

Project: 16,000-square-foot winery with tasting room, banquet facilities, a brick pizza oven and a production operation that will make about 5,000 cases of wine a year

Approval date: September 2018

Expected completion: August 2020

Like some viticultural version of the Pied Piper, Kevin Buckler led Sunday a group of wine lovers down First Street in Petaluma.

Instead of playing a musical instrument, the founder and CEO of Adobe Road Wines carried a golden sledgehammer, which he then used to begin demolition on the old Bay Bridge Garage.

That riverfront parcel, between the Petaluma Yacht Club and a PG&E substation, will be the site of the 16,000-square-foot Adobe Road Winery, which is expected to open in a year.

Topped by a bell tower, the L-shaped, two-story mission-style building will include a tasting room, banquet facilities, a brick pizza oven and a production operation that will make some 5,000 cases of wine a year.

The winery also will be home to a motor sports gallery - a nod to Buckler’s roots as a race car driver.

He owns The Racers Group, whose drivers have won their class of the 24 Hours of Daytona four times.

That’s why the gallery will feature a section of banked track, 31 degrees steep, simulating the Daytona International Speedway.

Standing in the center of the soon-to-be razed garage at Sunday’s “Demolition Party,” Buckler told a group of several dozen investors and wine club members that he was standing “right in the middle of where the pizza oven is going to be.”

Motioning to the sturdy, redwood support beams above them, he explained that much of that lumber would be salvaged and used in the tasting room of the new building.

“We’re probably not saving any money,” he said. “But it’s the right thing to do, and it’ll be really cool.”

As Buckler talked about his vision for the new facility, the sledgehammer he wielded took on a kind of symbolic significance. By building a winery in the downtown of a midsized city, Adobe Road is breaking a Wine Country tradition.

“Why drive to some snooty Napa tasting room if you don’t have to?” he said. “The world’s changed. People have shorter attention spans. They want to have fun, and Petaluma’s fun.”

The winery will be a short walk from the Petaluma SMART train station near the corner of East Washington and Lakeville streets. During Buckler’s remarks, a SMART train whistle could be overheard in the background.

By the time the winery is complete, SMART’s extension to Larkspur Landing will be complete.

That will allow visitors to get on a ferry in San Francisco and then walk to a train that will deposit them in Petaluma less than 40 minutes later. With its banquet space and conference rooms, Adobe Road expects to attract corporate clients from San Francisco and the Silicon Valley.

“I want to be a good ambassador for Petaluma,” Buckler said. “With this awesome project, we’re going to get more people to see it.”

You can reach Staff Writer Austin Murphy at 707-521-5214 or austin.murphy@pressdemocrat.com.

On Your Corner

This story is part of a new regular feature spotlighting residential and commercial developments going up across Sonoma County. Look for future stories about the projects rising near you, and contact the writer with questions about ongoing construction or planned developments in your neighborhood.

What: Adobe Road Winery

Where: Petaluma, corner of C and First streets

Project: 16,000-square-foot winery with tasting room, banquet facilities, a brick pizza oven and a production operation that will make about 5,000 cases of wine a year

Approval date: September 2018

Expected completion: August 2020

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