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Gold Medal Wine Club
5330 Debbie Road, Suite 200
Santa Barbara, California 93111
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Adobe Road Winery - Sonoma County

93 Points, Best of Class — Overall Red Winner

Few Northern California wineries have the panache attached to them as the upstart Sonoma County winery called Adobe Road Winery. Founded less than a decade ago in the town of Petaluma, Adobe Road has recently vaulted into the stratosphere of top-notch boutique wineries.

The owners of Adobe Road are Kevin and Debra Buckler, who profess to be in the wine business “simply because we both love it so much.” Kevin Buckley, now 50, is a Southern California native whose first career centered on real estate development. By 1986, he began operating out of Kansas and eventually employed over 200 people in his development company. After selling out to a competitor, Kevin decided to return to his roots in California in 1996.

“There were only two things I was really passionate about,” he recalled. “One was car racing and the other was the wine business. I started a company called The Racing Group in Northern California and was delighted at its relative success.” The only thing relative about TRG’s success was the astonishing level achieved, as the company became the leading company of its type in the racing world. Built around Porsche and its cars, TRG’s racing team captured both the Rolex 24-hour Daytona Race and the prestigious 24 Hours of Lemans in 2002 and was also named the Porsche World Cup Champion for that year. Other racing wins vaulted TRG into an internationally prominent racing team.

As for his interest in wines, Kevin Buckler’s fascination with the grape began when he was nineteen, and part of a 3-½ month Semester at Sea Program at UC Santa Barbara. When the ship, Kevin and his classmates were aboard docked in Cape Town, South Africa, Kevin made a beeline for the nearby Stellenbosch Valley. Four days later, Buckler’s longtime love affair with wines had begun. After Debra Buckler professed interest in the wine business, Kevin set about to establish Adobe Road Winery. Named after a road on which the company’s first grapes were grown, Adobe Road is now located in a building immediately adjacent to the larger TRG complex that houses the racing team’s extensive facilities. Kevin Buckler has assembled a winery team that he hopes will rival the accomplishments of his racing endeavor. He has obtained the services of two topflight winemakers, Michael Scorsone (Failla) and John Jones (Opus One) and has garnered a great deal of attention from national periodicals for Adobe Road’s recent releases.

“You can say one thing about our winery operation,” Buckler added, “we have tried to do every single thing on a first class basis, including the equipment and state of the art wine techniques. Just like the incredible Porsche automobile that our racing team features, our winery was not built trying to save money or cut corners.” Adobe Road’s first release came in 1999, a miniscule 100 cases. Expansion has been slow and steady and approximately 6,500 cases will be produced this year. Buckler says that his business plan calls for a high level of 10,000 cases, but no more. He cited the winery’s ability to control quality and the fact that Adobe Road currently produces ten varietals as his reason for the expansion’s ceiling.

“We had always hoped to make Adobe Road into a true boutique winery,” Buckler informed. “We wanted the winery to be the Porsche of equipment and also home to the greatest winemakers we could find that would embrace our winemaking philosophy.”
Kevin Buckler spends about a third of his time handling winery affairs and with the remainder devoted to the racing team. He estimates he spends about 250 days a year traveling from one event to another, a grueling pace for even the most assertive vintner/racer. He manages to kill two birds on each trip by combining restaurant and hotel calls in the cities where races are conducted. His winery’s recent super exposure hasn’t hurt his cause one bit.

“It is nice to be recognized as a winery when I make my sales calls. Before all this exposure, not many were familiar with our wines. After our Zinfandel won the top prize at the recent Sonoma Harvest Fair, we started getting calls from retailers and wholesalers who wanted pallets of our wine rather than bottles or cases. It is really special to be appreciated for your efforts.”

Wife Debra is the CFO for Adobe Road as well as tasting coordinator. It seems like a great fit.

  1. Adobe Road
    2005 Cabernet Sauvignon
    Adobe Road
    Dry Creek Valley


    93 - Wine Spectator
    id: 398