Disclosure: I was invited on a media tour of unique establishments along the #PetalumaGap. All opinions are my own. Added insights from a local.
There’s an absolute beauty in Wine Country. But that beauty not only lies in the scenic views, but in the heart and soul of the people that reside there. In hearing their stories, experiencing their passions, the beauty of wine country only becomes more poignant. And, in the case of the #PetalumaGap a true talent that is out there waiting to be found. The Petaluma Gap is the gateway to the Sonoma Coast region. Although not a designated appellation, the Petaluma Gap is producing premium grapes that make the Sonoma Coast Appellation one of California’s best areas to grow primarily Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Syrah grapes. ~Petaluma Gap WineGrowers Alliance.
As a local to the beautiful area, and have fallen in love with the town of Petaluma I was ecstatic to get an inside tour of places I hadn’t been to yet, and to also find some new hangout spots to frequent down the road. But, of course, I must share these finds with you:
The first place to visit after a full day of work was Sonoma Valley Portworks located right off 2nd Street near Downtown Petaluma. Upon entering this fun tasting room eyes drifted to the conceptual art designs found throughout the room. From the well decorated barrels to this beautiful piece of art showcased above. Sonoma Valley Portworks is the only winery within Sonoma County that focuses specifically on ports and after dinner wines.
BUT, what’s great about this place is their full concept of focusing just on “Port.” Port Wine is a Portuguese fortified wine that has gained a lot of popularity in the past few decades. Port in the United States can be labelled from anywhere in the world, but according to the European Union port or porto can only be placed on the label with ports coming out of Portugal. It is often a dry, sweet red wine that is produced as a dessert wine. Served with Chocolate, Cheesecake, and many other fine delicacies.
Ports are truly a delicacy. But Sonoma Valley Portworks also has a few Sonomic Almost Vinegars also available for tastings. And let me tell you the Sonomic Vinegar made with Gewurtztraminer was AMAZING. I envisioned that over cheesecake, brie, and of course ice cream.
After our tasting at Sonoma Valley Portworks we headed towards the beautiful Enriquez Wine Estates, where, owner, Cecilia Enriquez, invited us right into her home. Big red chairs filled the outdoors near the vineyards where we could sit out and enjoy our glass of wine, or sit right inside where a cheese pairing by Achadinha Cheese Company was waiting for us:
Cecilia began telling her story about how she had just moved to Petaluma 3 years prior, and how after presenting a business plan to her father after thorough research of finding the right property to produce wine she was soon sent to Petaluma to make wine, mind you, with no idea how to make it in the first place, but she dove right in, and let me tell you, its some pretty delicious stuff. Cecilia resides right on the property where day in and day out she is there keeping track of planting, to picking to production to pouring.
Like this Brisa Wine: (a white wine blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Muscat, and Chardonnay.)
Enriquez Estate Wines also makes two Tempranillo varietals along with two Pinot Noir varietals. The love of wine has always been a shared bond between Cecilia and her father, and she has made it a dream come true for her and her family.
Wine tasting ended for the day, but would start up the next morning.
Adobe Road Wines:
I’ve been to the Adobe Road Wines Tasting Room off the Sonoma Plaza, however, during this visit, we were invited into their production facility where a whole new world opened up to me. Owner Kevin Buckler also happens to be a race team owner, and inside their production facility was a bit of a surprise as we walked into an Astin Martin racecar showroom. Just a few were present while we were there since they were out at a race that week.
But oh my, what a GREAT experience:
Wine and Racecars, who would have thought?
That morning we were treated to a tasting of Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon. They also make many others including: Semillon, Viognier, Red Line, Rose, Grenache, Cabernet Franc, Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, and Syrah. Pretty good for just a boutique winery, right?
Adobe Road Wines choose their growers carefully and establish great relationships to make the best wine possible. In their own words,
We maintain collaborative relationships with our growers and carefully select vineyard sites based on their suitability for particular varietals. Our wines are handcrafted in small lots with minimal intervention, including fermentation with native yeasts. We believe that these methods, combined with the distinctive nature of our vineyards, lead to expressive wines of the absolute highest quality.
And over the years this is what made Adobe Road Wines a brand you could truly trust.
During our dinner at Seared Petaluma the evening after our first day of wine tastings we met owner, Ana Keller, of Keller Estate Winery, and soon an invitation followed for us to join her at her winery.
And boy, were we ever happy we did. With scenic views like these:
Once on property, Ana met us, and soon we were taken inside the production facility where they were bottling that day. We learned about the facility and the beautiful story behind the stone of their building. Keller Estate winery is constructed out of limestone quarried from the beds of the Yangtze River.
And throughout the winery, many pieces of art are found throughout the property from both local and international artists that create a wonderful vibe throughout the winery.
She eventually took us through their wine caves where the end landed us in a beautiful tasting room which adorned beautiful barrel creations that were purchased at an auction years ago:
But what truly sets Keller Estate Winery apart are the deliciousness of their wines. My first taste took place the night before at our sit down dinner at Seared Petaluma with their Pinot Noir, and after that first glass I was instantly craving for more.
And at the winery we definitely had a few more tastings starting with this Rose.
Intricate details go into everything that the Keller family does. From the art and architecture carefully crafted throughout the property to the delicacies of their wine and the choosing of their labels. This is a family that has thought of everything, and it truly shows.
Keller Estate Wineries also creates Chardonnays, Pinot Noir, Syrah and Pinot Gris varietals. This year marks their 25th anniversary of creating their craft. The tasting room is open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and by appointment.
This tour of Petaluma couldn’t have happened without the amazing work of Kristi Trimmer from KristiTrimmer.Com and Cecilia Enriquez. Trust me, it was very much appreciated. But, more than anything, it is the passion of those growing and making within Petaluma that made this trip so special.