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.
Kevin and the Adobe Road team had an exciting and successful weekend in San Francisco at Robert Parker Wine Advocate Matter of Taste. This annual world-class wine and food event brings together thousands of wine lovers, chefs and influencers and we were delighted to see so many familiar faces, including our winery partners, Inside Track Wine Club members, friends and fans over the weekend.
The weekend kicked off Friday evening with an exclusive wine dinner with Kevin, Garrett and 7 of our winery partners, enjoying multiple courses and outstanding wines, hosted by Vérité Star winemaker Pierre Seillan and the esteemed Wine Advocate team.
Saturday’s Grand Walkabout Tasting offered guests the opportunity to taste 200 outstanding Right Bank Bordeaux-inspired wines from around the globe, each scoring 90 points or more from Wine Advocate, including Adobe Road's 2014 Cabernet Franc and 2013 Apex releases.
The weekend in San Francisco gave Kevin and the Adobe Road team a wonderful opportunity to showcase Adobe Road’s award-winning wines and we were honored to have been such a huge part of the weekend at Matter of Taste.
And now the team is on the way to St. Petersburg, Florida for a series of elevated Adobe Road winemaker eventsin conjunction with the first race week of the year for our sister company, The Racers Group.
We invite you to join us at Robert Parker Wine Advocate Matter of Taste San Francisco this Friday, March 2 and Saturday, March 3 at the City Club. Adobe Road Winery is honored to be featured in the Grand Walkabout Tasting at Matter of Taste as this world-class Robert Parker Wine Advocate event returns to San Francisco.
Matter of Taste is an international, exclusive wine celebration, showcasing the talents of the world’s premier wines and winemakers. This year, the event will highlight 200 outstanding Right Bank Bordeaux-inspired wines from around the globe, each scoring 90 points or more from Wine Advocate, including Adobe Road's 2014 Cabernet Franc and 2013 Apex. Thousands of guests and notable food and wine influencers will be on hand to experience the best wines in the world.
“All of us at Adobe Road Winery are honored to be invited to participate in the Robert Parker Wine Advocate international tour stop -- the San Francisco Matter of Taste,” says Kevin Buckler, Adobe Road Winery’s founder and CEO. “What a fantastic day in the Bay visiting some of the top wineries in the world and interacting with the owners and winemakers, including two fantastic dinner options. We’ve been invited to pour two of our outstanding qualifying wines and we’re looking forward to doing our usual, top-notch job of participating and supporting such a spectacular event. I invite any of our friends in the wine world to come on down for this wonderful event as it’s not to be missed.”
We look forward to seeing you in San Francisco this weekend!
Use this special promo code to receive $30 off the price of your Matter of Taste ticket, including VIP access and the Grand Walkabout Tasting: ARWSF18.
Now in its 17th year, the South Beach Wine & Food Festival presented by The Food Network and the Cooking Channel is a national, star-studded, destination event showcasing the talents of the world’s most renowned wine and spirits producers, chefs and culinary personalities.
To create the best event during the best weekend of the year, dozens of the nation's top chefs have been rounded up to showcase their most gourmet samplings to pair with over 100 wines rated 90 points or higher on Wine Spectator's scale. Only proprietors and winemakers from each winery are invited to pour their top varietals and you can be sure this will be a golden opportunity for attendees to hear more about how the world’s greatest wines, including Adobe Road, makes it from vineyard to your glass.
Kevin will be pouring Adobe Road’s flagship wine, our 94 point 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, Beckstoffer Georges III at the Wine Spectator’s Best of the Best tasting.
To make this weekend even sweeter for us, the event is held at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach. This iconic hotel will set the perfect stage with its blend of Golden Era glamor and modern luxury. Adobe Road has a rich history with the Fontainebleau and we bottled a special custom, private label Fontainebleau Adobe Road Cabernet blend in 2015.
“The Best of the Best at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival is one of our favorite events and we’re so honored to have been invited back again this year,” says Kevin Buckler. “I always look forward to coming to Florida and the Miami area to our friends at the Fontainebleau and pour our flagship wines at this sold-out event. Adobe Road is producing some truly amazing wines right now and we could not be more thrilled with the direction of the company, the new project, all of the cutting-edge programs and these cool events around the country! We’re always thrilled to be able to share our wines friends.”