Vineyard Report: Rockpile AVA, Branham Vineyard
Gary Branham’s fantastic petite sirah vineyard is hard to find, but well worth the effort.
The vineyard is located west of Lake Sonoma, over 1,000 feet above the Sonoma valley floor — it’s the most remote growing site we use. And with its steep, rocky terrain, crossing a seasonal creek (among other challenges) is required to access the vineyard.
Branham Vineyard is dry farmed and it produces intensely concentrated petite sirah. Water conservation and grape quality are two chief reasons dry farming is gaining more and more traction, even in drier climates like California. Right now, flowering is almost finished and we are already beginning to see the crop set.
2018 harvest — and incredible petite sirah — here we come!
Out in the Field
Mount Konacti is an inactive volcano in Sonoma's Lake County. The last time this volcano erupted, it created an incredible amount of obsidian and lava rock deposits. Today, those deposits have created extremely well drained soils that are perfect to stress grape vines, pushing smaller berry size and increased flavor, aroma and color in each one.
From the Road - Our National Sales Manager's Notebook
When our National Sales Manager, Brian Mott goes into local markets, he has many sales tools at his disposal.
Booking an Adobe Road Winemaker Dinner is a great way to increase exposure for distributors and consumers and one of the best tools in Brian's toolbox. These dinners can help to:
Take advantage of this terrific exposure in your market with this very effective sales tool -- a chance to geek out with wine, engage with a sales rep on site and enjoy Adobe Road with food pairings. Book your dinner today and maximize in-market sales and visibility.
Brian booked two successful Winemaker Dinners during his last sales swing through Michigan at the Traverse City Country Club and at Bennethum’s, just outside of Petoskey.
“These special dinners are always a great way to introduce our Adobe Road Winery portfolio and to let people try our wines with food,” Brian says. “Plus, patrons can usually purchase right at the event. It’s a win-win!”
Brian is returning to the Michigan market later this month, and already he has three dinners booked across the state: Saginaw Country Club, Lansing’s Capital Prime and Fleming’s Steakhouse in West Detroit.
Pictured at the Adobe Road Winemaker Dinner at Traverse City Country Club:
Brian Mott, Food & Beverage Manager Matt Titus and Woodberry Sales Rep Carrie Silveri
Contact Brian Mott, Adobe Road National Sales Manager
Text or call: 707.772.6621
We can help you sell! Visit our Trade and Sales support page.
Adobe Road Winery starred at the Environmental Media Awards (EMAs) and EMA Impact Summit this week at the Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills.
Stars like Wendie Malick (Just Shoot Me, Frasier, Grace and Frankie), Bill Nye (the Science Guy), Dan Lauria (The Wonder Years), Jenna Dewan (Step Up), awards emcee Amber Valleta, Frances Fisher (Titanic) and Ed Begley, Jr. (This is Spinal Tap, Ghostbusters) stepped out for the event and enjoyed variety of Adobe Road wines, including Adobe Road’s award-winning flagship Beckstoffer Cabernet Sauvignon (94 points) and the Petaluma Gap grown Roberts Road Pinot Noir (92 points).
Adobe Road was spotlighted as the official wine of the two-day event which began Monday with a high impact panel on green marketing featuring Adobe Road (and The Racers Group) CEO Kevin Buckler.
Later that evening, Adobe Road took center stage at a star-studded reception. Winemaker Garrett Martin invited the 150 guests to experience a special tasting, where attendees pulled their own samples of Famighetti Vineyard grown Viognier and Syrah right out of the barrel! A wide variety of bottled wines were also served to the delight of the party-goers including Adobe Road’s flagship 2014 Napa Valley Beckstoffer Cabernet Sauvignon, 2014 Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, 2016 Redline, 2016 Petaluma Gap Roberts Road Pinot Noir and 2015 Sangiacomo Chardonnay. Our just-released 2015 Blue Dog Cabernet Sauvignon also made its debut at the event to high acclaim.
Tuesday night’s big event -- The Environmental Media Awards -- got underway with a glitzy “green” carpet reception, where once again, our wines were the hit of the evening. Garrett was back for an encore with the barrels as guests also enjoyed Adobe Road Chardonnay and Pinot Noir (also served during the EMA dinner that night).
Kevin and the team made the most of this opportunity for Adobe Road to reach new audiences and gain visibility in the lucrative Los Angeles market. June 19 will see the grand opening of red-hot restaurant Tesse -- the newest offering from LA Restaurant Group partners Jordan Ogron and Bill Chait -- with Adobe Road wines on the menu. The duo will also open Boutellier, a new concept wine store spotlighting Adobe Road wines.
Oak. It is one of the most influential materials used in the winemaking process. Think about some of your favorite wines -- many of those creamy, spicy, vanilla and toasty rich aromas and flavors are direct results of the combination of wine, wood and time.
I had the chance to travel through some of our French oak forests this winter, where I was able to inspect the sources of many of our barrels. Only the best wood from perfectly aged trees at least 200 years old is used to make wine barrels. But don’t worry -- no wood is ever wasted.
Material that is not suitable for barrel making is used for other craftsman projects such as furniture making. And although cutting down 200 year old trees may look like deforestation to our new world eyes, it is the epitome of sustainability from the French perspective. They’ve been managing these forests for well over 900 years. These government controlled forests, through the careful tending of trees over large areas of land, ensure that French oak is a resource that will continue indefinitely.
Once they’ve been harvested, trees are carefully split and cut to barrel stave size, then stacked on pallets and left to season in the outside elements for 24-36 months. Only then is the wood ready to be toasted and shaped into a barrel. Each cooperage toasts barrels to different specifications, much like different chefs will sear a steak in unique ways, so the relationship between the cooper and the winemaker is incredibly important to assure the impact of the wood on the wine is exactly what is desired. Variables like toasting temperature, time on the fire, the use of water or steam during toasting, the forests used to make the staves, seasoning time, grain tightness and many more factors have huge influence on the aroma, flavor and mouthfeel of the wine that ultimately comes out of that barrel.
Just as winemaking is a science and an art, so is barrel making. It is the successful joining of these two crafts that sets the stage for incredible wine.
Wines to Try
Check out how French oak influences these Adobe Road wines, in different ways.
2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, Knights Valley, Bavaraian Lion Vineyard -- You can smell and taste the toasty oak.
2016 Pinot Noir, Sangiacomo, Roberts Road Vineyard -- In our Petaluma Gap Pinot Noir, it's all about how the oak influences the mouthfeel and creaminess of the wine.
Have you ever dreamed of tasting hundreds of the very best wines in the world as reviewed by Wine Spectator magazine, all in one place -- in one night? That’s the concept behind Wine Spectator’s Grand Tour, the annual series of one-night event where the world’s greatest wine aficionados come together over three nights of super tastings in Washington, D.C., New York City and Las Vegas.
Over 200 must-taste wines, each scoring 90 points or better with Wine Spectator were featured, including Adobe Road’s flagship 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon - Beckstoffer Georges III Vineyard (94 points).
This wasn’t just a chance to wow the thousands of consumers, influencers, sommeliers and chefs in attendance over three weeks in April and May. The Grand Tour stops provided Adobe Road with those all important points of contact to meet with distributor, restaurant and retail partners, directly in these influential markets.
“Adobe Road was honored to have been invited to showcase our 2014 Beckstoffer Cabernet Sauvignon at these high profile tasting events,” says Adobe Road National Sales Manager Brian Mott. “We were a popular table with many guests who came back again and again to taste. We heard from a number of them that we were their favorite cabernet being poured.”
Brian, along with Kathryn Buckler and winemaker Garrett Martin were on hand to pour for the always packed Adobe Road table. And Wine Spectator Editor-in-Chief Thomas Mathews made a point of personally congratulating the winery and Kevin’s team on their success.
We made many new friends and met scores of Adobe Road fans at these three high profile tasting events. In addition, being able to spend time with key distribution partners provided the winery with golden opportunities to gain even more visibility for our highly acclaimed wine.
Wine to Try
2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, Rutherford Beckstoffer Georges III Vineyard, 94 Points, Wine Spectator
Click here to read more about the Washington, D.C. super tasting from Wine Spectator magazine.
Adobe Road Winery is proud to call Petaluma, California home. The city’s vibrant culture, cool vibe and old world charm are within easy reach of San Francisco and Sacramento… Come visit Petaluma, “The Starting Line to Wine Country.”
Want to relax? Day trip the stylish way on the SMART Train. The train stops just a short walk to downtown and you’ll also find the Petaluma Visitors Center next door to the station. You can catch the SMART Train from points north and south of Petaluma, including near San Francisco and the handy trip planner makes planning a breeze.
To reach downtown Petaluma, take the E. Washington Street exit off of Highway 101 and head west. Make a left on Petaluma Blvd. Most parking is free, but you’ll have to be quick - spots are at a premium. Check out the parking structure located at C Street and 2nd Avenue, right in the heart of the downtown corridor.
Did you know Petaluma has a municipal airport? It’s open 24 hours each day, has a 24 hour fueling island for aircraft and can handle general aviation needs, including rental hangars. Check out the Two-Niner Diner which sources local ingredients. You’ll probably find a pilot or two at the counter.
You can also cycle, paddle, walk and run into town via a variety of trails, streets and waterways.
Once you’ve arrived downtown, you can pick up a walking map that provides a great lay of the land. Visit the Petaluma Visitors Center in the Historic Depot Building (210 Lakeville St.), at visitpetaluma.com or call 877.273.8258.
Just like Petaluma, this hotel is an oasis of old world charm and modern convenience, right in the heart of the downtown action. Check out the Hotel Petaluma website to book.
Petaluma is all about local flavor. It’s also one of California’s oldest cities, recently celebrating its 150th birthday. There is so much to see and do -- historic sites, culinary delights, arts and entertainment, the great outdoors and handcrafted wine. Come along with us as we explore some distinctly local treasures and activities, all linking up in our dynamic downtown.
If you’re looking for something that screams small town Americana, then look no further than the annual Salute to American Graffiti Festival. Make no mistake, this is a full-tilt tribute to the real stars of George Lucas’s 1973 classic film -- the ones with four wheels. Car culture is on rapt display as candy-colored hot rods cruise the streets of downtown Petaluma each May with a full three-day weekend of events for everyone, young and old, alike. The celebration revs up with the Jump Start Dinner, and includes photography contests, informal car shows, guest appearances by American Graffiti cast members and the classic downtown cruise, which takes in many of the best sights of the city along the very streets immortalized in the film. Many of the events are free. There’s nothing better than cruisin’ Petaluma in your Little Deuce Coupe.
This year marks the festival’s 13th anniversary: May 17, 18 and 19.
Did you know? American Graffiti isn’t the only Hollywood production that was filmed right here in our hometown. You might have seen a few of these films:
American Graffiti - 1973
Impulse - 1984
Peggy Sue Got Married - 1986
Howard the Duck - 1987
Basic Instinct - 1991
True Crime - 1999
At once a blues club, jazz joint, concert venue and much more, even the name harkens back to the days of yore. Originally built in 1911, the Mystic’s building was first home to a Vaudeville music hall. Its art deco design even landed the theater cameo turns in Hollywood movies like American Graffiti and Peggy Sue Got Married. Now, a few name changes later and after some renovating, the music scene at The Mystic is among the most vibrant you’re likely to find -- anywhere. The venue welcomes top acts and touring bands from across the country and has a steady clientele of eclectic concert-goers eager to see top notch bands play on the Mystic’s state of the art, ear-bleeding sound system. There’s even a pool table. And, since we’re talking about Petaluma, there are more than ample watering holes (including a pretty good bar on the premises) and eateries within stumbling distance.
Did you know? Petaluma’s Cinnabar Theater celebrated its 40th season recently and it’s the only venue in Sonoma County producing opera and live musical theater.
Petaluma is acclaimed as a Northern California foodie haven. Locals and visitors alike love to eat and Petaluma is certainly not wanting for world-class restaurants. It’s all here: locally owned casual eateries, food trucks and high-end steak houses.
You’ll find a couple of favorites within an easy stumble of The Mystic (and almost everything else downtown).
Central Market offers an inspired menu that changes almost daily, with fresh ingredients -- almost everything is made from scratch, in-house daily -- sourced from the restaurant’s own farm. Owner and chef Tony Najoila focuses the cuisine on rustic California fare and the place is hopping with a great mix of locals and visitors on any given night of the week. Whether you’re looking for oysters, a nosh with a glass of wine or a full-course dinner, count on finding it at Central Market. The restaurant boasts one of the best curated wine lists in town, with wonderful finds like under-the-radar gems from places like Greece, more traditional European choices and a keen eye toward local vintners. If you’re dining solo, no worries -- belly up to the friendly bar for an enjoyable evening of delicious food and delightful conversation with staff and locals.
At Wild Goat Bistro, you’ll find innovative locavore salads, seasonable small plates to share and Neapolitan style pizzas -- there’s something for everyone. Nearly everything on the menu is gluten-free and there is an extensive wine list focused on locally produced bottles. Tucked away in the Great Petaluma Mill, this bistro is a hidden treasure. With river-adjacent seating, a reclaimed copper bar and exposed brick walls -- the space was once a storage locker for a local butcher -- count on a delightful meal in a truly unique Petaluma space.
Discover Petaluma by water! Paddle the Petaluma River -- and the area’s waterways, bays, marshes and estuaries -- on a kayak, raft or paddleboard from Clavey Paddlesports. They even host a bioluminescence evening kayak tour. The folks at Clavey really make navigating the waterways fun -- and social -- and you can choose from a variety of excursions and tours. Stand-up paddleboarding is the fastest growing sport on the planet, and for good reason. It’s easy to learn, lively and entertaining, a great way to get some exercise and a wonderful way to see the region’s sights. Plus, you can SUP (that’s Stand Up Paddle) almost anywhere.
Did you know? Grab your bike and check out some of the area’s best scenery by running trails including the 45 kilometer Spring Hill - Chileno Valley trail. You’ll start and finish at downtown Petaluma’s Walnut Park.
Anytime is a great time to visit Adobe Road Winery -- after a paddle, bike ride, before a show or dinner or while taking a leisurely stroll around the downtown waterfront. Open seven days a week, the Kevin and Debra Buckler owned winery’s casual tasting room in the Great Petaluma Mill is conveniently located to just about everything in town, making it the perfect getaway for a relaxing glass of wine. Grab a seat at the bar or get cozy in the comfy chairs. Either way, you’re in for a treat as the knowledgeable staff lead you through classic and reserve tastings of Adobe Road’s award-winning wines, all sourced from premier vineyards in Sonoma (including the new hometown Petaluma Gap appellation) and Napa counties.
Downtown Petaluma is red hot and next year, Adobe Road -- one of the hottest boutique wineries in the country -- will expand with a $7 million, 15,000 square food destination facility right on the city’s beautiful waterfront. The new space at 1st and C streets will be home to the fast-growing winery operation and tasting room, featuring floor to ceiling glass doors opening to the river. Championship race car driver Kevin Buckler also helms The Racers Group and expect to see some cool race cars on display at the facility’s car museum. Add in lots of event space, a commercial kitchen, pizza oven and party deck and you can see why excitement is sizzling for this riverfront redevelopment project. Who knows? You just might be able to SUP right up to Adobe Road’s new tasting room.
Did you know: Wind, fog and phenomenal wine. That's the Petaluma Gap. And now, producers like Adobe Road will be able to take full advantage of the new Petaluma Gap American Vinticultural Area (AVA) in the windswept Sonoma Coast region. Foggy mornings, sunny days, windy afternoons and cool evenings provide optimal growing conditions for key varietals like pinot noir, chardonnay and syrah.
Wine to Try
Try one of our hometown Petaluma Gap grown wines: 2016 Pinot Noir, Sangiacomo Roberts Road Vineyard (92 points, Wine Spectator).
Mark and Sheila Farmer's story is as much about passion as it is about growing incredible grapes. They packed up their bags in Minnesota a few years ago and made the trek to the rolling hills and vineyards of California to follow their dreams -- dreams they'd had for over a decade. They've worked hard to turn those dreams into reality.
Wine lovers through and through, Mark has a story he likes to tell about another famous Minnesotan with some winemaking pedigree. “You might not know that a guy from Minnesota put Napa and California wine in general on the world’s wine map,” he says proudly. “He’s one of the most influential names in wine -- Robert Mondavi from Virginia, Minnesota.” He laughs. “Beware of Minnesotans!”
Mark and Sheila purchased what used to be called Kemp Vineyard and renamed it Famighetti Vineyards in honor of Mark’s dad. They continue to grow the flavorful grapes that Adobe Road Winery sources to make award-winning zinfandel, syrah, grenache and viognier. Famighetti represents some of the area’s great terroirs. The property itself is quite dramatic, with its sweeping vistas, old-growth trees, vines for years and tree house, overlooking it all high above one of Sonoma County’s wine meccas, Healdsburg.
Zinfandel as we know it, is grown predominantly in California, having made its way to the state during the Gold Rush in the 1850s. The variety is grown in over 10 percent of California’s vineyards and only cabernet sauvignon and pinot noir are planted in more abundance. These days, the popularity of the grape is no surprise given its versatility and renowned ability to pair well with a wide variety of foods. “I really love zinfandel,” Mark says. “It can be a big, rich, ripe, high alcohol red wine with higher tannins, or it can be made to be light and fruity. I like both, depending on the situation. For me, zinfandel is a good alternative to cabernet because I really like its ability to deliver spicy, smoky flavors.”
On any given day, you’ll see the couple decked out in their dirt farming duds -- worn jeans and boots -- lovingly working the land. It’s all hands on here at Famighetti. Elsa, Mark and Sheila’s trusting vineyard dog, completes the picture.
Farmer was first introduced to zinfandel by his uncle Tom Maple, who with his wife Tina, cultivate 26 acres of prime benchtop land in Dry Creek. “Uncle Tom’s passion for zin rubbed off on me and inspired me to not only drink fine zinfandel wines, but to pursue growing this grape.” Mark and Sheila acquired Famighetti Vineyards in 2015.
Mark and Sheila picked the perfect “zin” spot; the jewel in the zinfandel crown. Dry Creek Valley is known for being one of the best places on earth to grow zinfandel. Famighetti’s vines -- all 2,500 of them -- are grown on a sharp slope, at an elevation of almost 1,000 feet above sea level. “We have this very steep, bowl-shaped terrace cut into the mountainside. There aren’t many vineyards like it. So, we get a few microclimates that produce really great fruit. The vines tend to retain the heat throughout the day, getting a little extra warmth and this makes the grapes thrive.” There are even a few Primitivo vines scattered around the vineyard, which add to the unique flavors produced from the fruit.”
The Farmers’ relationship with Adobe Road goes back over 10 years. “Adobe Road does a great job with our fruit, getting the most out of all four varietals we grow here and this has been reflected in many high ratings and awards.” Adobe Road’s 2015 Zinfandel -- the first vintage from Famighetti -- just scored an outstanding 91 points from Wine Spectator (May, 2018 issue). “The winemaker, Garrett Martin, is great to work with and he spends a lot of time in the vineyard with me, making decisions on how to keep improving things. It’s a great partnership.”
That 2015 zinfandel crop -- the Farmers’ first -- was very challenging. “We were in the fifth year of a drought, so there was a lot of heat,” Farmer remembers. “I think generally, the zin crop was down about 40% that year and there were quite a few temps that reached 105 degrees, too. When the berries were picked, they were close to being shriveled and the brix was high. But despite all of the challenges, we ended up making a really good wine.”
Garrett Martin agrees. “We had some bad weather during flowering, too. 2015 was a challenging year, that’s for sure. It’s the great partnership between grower, winemaker and winery that makes the fruit the very best it can be.”
Wine to Try
The 2015 Adobe Road Zinfandel is packed full of blue and black fruits, fresh and vibrant. Cinnamon and baking spices play in the middle with a rich mouthfeel and details of cracked black peppercorns and licorice.
Adobe Road Winery brought world-class wines to Cordillera Ranch last week for an exclusive winemaker dinner, part of an ongoing series of high end entertainment and corporate for which the winery is well-known. Located right in the heart of Texas Hill Country among 14,000 square miles of rolling hills northwest of San Antonio and southwest of Austin, Cordillera Ranch’s 8,200 acres offer luxurious living and plenty of outdoor activity (including a signature Jack Nicklaus golf course) in a planned community that reflects the rustic beauty of the region, just a stone’s throw away from San Antonio’s bustling riverfront corridor.
Guests were guided through an elevated tasting experience and exploration of six of Adobe Road’s outstanding wines by founder Kevin Buckler. Each wine was perfectly paired with Cordillera Ranch Executive Chef Isaac Cantu’s inspired cuisine.
The event was the perfect coda to a weekend of racing as sister company The Racers Group and drivers Derek DeBoer and Sean Gibbons tackled a very competitive season-opening Pirelli World Challenge SprintX GTS field at Austin’s Circuit of the Americas. DeBoer made a star turn at the Cordillera event, along with two of TRG’s race cars -- the #66 Porsche Cayman GT4 M4 (the SprintX challenger at COTA) and the Aston Martin GT4 show car -- arriving in style in one of team’s huge race transporters.
Some of the team’s VIP friends and partners including Len Musgrove, Jeff Thompson (Wells Fargo Private Bank) and executives from Armor were among the over 100 guests who thoroughly enjoyed an unforgettable evening in the Texas hills.
Butter Poached East Coast Lobster
2016 Sauvignon Blanc; 2014 Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, Bacigalupi Vineyard (90 points, Wine Spectator)
Mesquite Smoked Heritage Lamb Minted Cornettes
2012 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley; 2016 Redline (90 points, Wine Spectator)
Akaushi Braised Short Rib Crisped Black Truffle Croquette
2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Rutherford; 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Rutherford, Beckstoffer Vineyard (94 points, Wine Spectator)
HeartBrand “Texas Style” Beef Wellington
Applewood Bacon Yukon Gold Potato Hash
Pan Seared Diver Scallops
Roasted Poblano Charred Corn “Mac n Cheese”
Heirloom Tomato Green Salad
Misterio Chocolate Bavarois
“Speed 151” Bananas Foster
Butter Pecan Cookie Dough Ice Cream
(Petaluma, Calif -- March 23) Adobe Road Winery and Cordillera Ranch are teaming up to deliver a truly exceptional winemaker experience Tuesday, March 27 with a poolside Adobe Road Winemaker’s Dinner. Centered on the highly acclaimed wines from the California winery and paired with a menu crafted and presented by Executive Chef Isaac Cantu and his team, this will be an extraordinary evening.
Adobe Road Winery hails directly from the “starting line” of California Wine Country in Petaluma, California. The small lot producer is one one of the hottest boutique wineries in the industry, crafting award-winning wines from premier vineyards in Sonoma and Napa counties, including the new Petaluma Gap American Viticultural Area. The awards and accolades keep coming -- the winery has achieved 16 90+ scores in Wine Spectator and Robert Parker Wine Advocate in just the last year and has been featured at world-class events such as Wine Spectator’s Grand Tour and Wine Experience (Adobe Road’s flagship Napa/Rutherford Beckstoffer Vineyard sourced Cabernet Sauvignon is always a highlight), as well as Wine Advocate’s Matter of Taste
Founders Kevin and Debra Buckler are among Petaluma’s original wine pioneers. Kevin is a champion race car driver and helms The Racers Group (TRG). With international victories at the 24 hours of Le Mans and the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona (four wins/once overall), seven series championships and over 100 professional victories, TRG holds the winningest record of any independent GT sportscar racing team in North America.
Buckler’s push into other avenues has led the motorsports program to keep a heavy schedule of high-end corporate events, immersing guests into the high adrenaline world of professional sportscar racing. From VIP race weekend hospitality to fully captivating driving experiences, TRG and Adobe Road deliver one-of-a-kind platforms designed for maximum enjoyment and engagement, spotlighting the backstage access, food and Adobe Road wines you can only get at a TRG event.
The team will compete at Austin’s Circuit of the Americas, March 23-25 with the PIrelli World Challenge series, debuting the fast and beautiful TRG #66 Porsche Cayman GT4 MR race car in SprintX competition. The team’s race-winning race cars will be on display alongside cars from Mark Motors at Cordillera Ranch for a unique car, wine and food event. Derek DeBoer and Sean Gibbons, TRG’s pro drivers in Austin will be in attendance.
A Drive for Perfection
The Wines of Adobe Road at Cordillera Ranch
Tuesday, March 27
1092 Clubs Drive
Boerne, TX 78006
6 - 9 p.m.
$129++ includes six Adobe Road wine tastings and dinner
Reservations are required and can be made with the Cordillera Ranch receptionist at 830.336.9000.