Adobe Road Winery
Sonoma County region
With a driving passion for wine, Adobe Road Winery races to success
Like a number of small California wineries that have evolved during the past decade or so, smallish Adobe Road Winery in Petaluma is the product of its owners’ desire to accomplish something that is a true passion in their lives.
Owned by Kevin and Debra Buckler, who profess an equal passion for wines, Adobe Road Winery began operations in 1999 with the release of a whopping 100 cases. With several partners, the Bucklers set out with a business plan that would grow the winery to around 10,000 cases some years down the road. Their aim was to produce extraordinary local wines from Sonoma County using grapes they would purchase from a wide array of growers.
“We always believed that we could identify the kind and quality of grapes we wanted,” Kevin Buckler explained. “We thought it would be better to locate the grapes in different growing areas rather than be tied down to our own vineyards in one or two places.”
In 2002, the Bucklers bought out their original partners and replaced them with some of their racing friends (see Spotlight section) as investors. Since the winery occupies space directly behind the race team complex in Petaluma (just off the Lakeville Highway), the wine operation was already known to many of the Bucklers’ closest friends. It is commonly held by those friends and associates that the winery facility is as spotless as the racing shop, which is said to be pristine.
So far, the Buckler’s lofty rationale has sparked Adobe Road Winery’s rise to the high echelons of boutique wineries, particularly with regard to a number of impressive scores garnered by its wines.
Adobe Road Winery has slowly increased its production and will bottle around 5,000 cases this year, not far off their original business plan that didn’t include a two-year economic recession for the country.
“We are one of the few success stories in the boutique arena,” Buckler added. “These past two years have been really tough and a number of small wineries have fallen by the wayside. We have been fortunate to add a number of distributors along the east coast and they have been successful in getting our wines out to the public and in particular to the better restaurants. In some cases, we were the only winery these distributors added to their portfolios during the period.”
Sometime in August, Adobe Road Winery will open a new tasting room along the square in the city of Sonoma. The historic square draws numerous visitors and figures to provide Adobe Road Winery with a great deal of exposure. The facility will be located on the western side of the square, within easy walking distance of just about everything.
Map of the area
Dear Platinum Wine Club Members,
After almost 10 years of hard work, Adobe Road Winery is finally ready for “Prime Time.” I am glad that we took our time and laid the foundations for something that we think is special, and I hope you enjoy your award-winning 2005 Adobe Road Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon. I’d also like to invite you to visit one of the more unusual wineries in the North Coast!
With Michael Scorsone as our head winemaker, (he was the winemaker at Failla, the assistant at Turley and helped Fred Schrader on a lot of special projects) and enologist Jon Jones from Opus One, I think we have managed to put together a team that has the resources we need to make terrific wine. So the winemaking is exceptional. And we source fruit from top vineyards in Napa and Sonoma. I have used my background in motor racing to guide the philosophy here, and I have always said that a great car can’t win a race; only a great team can win a Championship.
What makes the winery really unusual is the combination of a winemaking facility and a full-blown auto-racing program all in the same place. And in each of my two passions, I am driven to excel. In auto racing I have won the 24 hours of LeMans and the Rolex 24 hours at Daytona—so the winery is full of fast cars, big trophies, and a shop that can turn just about any machine into a top level race car. We still compete at many levels throughout the USA, and you can see that all here.
But you can also see a perfect small lot winery production facility, with all the expertise and technology you might want to make great wines from great grapes. We treat each lot as a unique entity, and we spend as much time in the vineyard as we do in the cellar. Most of all, we are focused on making wines that are better each year, that capture the best of each vineyard and each vintage. And we don’t take any short cuts to get that done.
If you have time in your schedule to visit us, I would love to host you here at the winery and show you what we are doing.
Thank you and enjoy the wine! All the best,
CEO, Adobe Road Winery
CEO and Team Owner, The Racer’s Group
About the Vineyard
True to its location in the southern part of Sonoma County, Adobe Road Winery’s grapes are predominantly Sonoma-sourced. However, the grapes have always come from a number of locations within the expansive county, including the prestigious Dry Creek Valley outside Healdsburg and the sprawling Russian River Valley. Also included is the warmer Alexander Valley among others.
As wine sub regions go, Dry Creek Valley is home to a number of varietals due to its excellent soils and temperatures.
Dry Creek Valley can trace its roots back more than 135 years and is currently home to 63 wineries. It is one of the smaller viticultural areas in Northern California, with a total of only 9,300 acres of vineyards that extend along the valley floor and the surrounding benchlands and hillsides. It is a part of the Russian River Valley Region, and arguably the region’s most famous. Dry Creek Valley is known for its wide range of varietals, from marvelous Zinfandel grapes to the tasty Sauvignon Blancs that the terroir seems to favor.
The Art of Fine Wine
Painted by Carolyn Zaroff whose work reflects her passion for color and interest in contrasting forms and textures.
In recent years she has been inspired by the bold colors found in the vineyards of Northern California.
Michael Scorsone - Winemaker
Winemaker Michael Scorsone is remarkably unique as California winemakers go. A graduate of the CIA (Culinary Institute of America) in Hyde Park, NY, Scorsone had already achieved a rewarding career in both the restaurant (in Aspen, Colorado) and hotel business (he was Operations Manager at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas) when he felt his real calling---that of the almighty grape.
Michael came to Napa Valley, took enology courses at Napa Valley College and entered the wine business. He worked in various capacities at several boutique wineries (Neyers Vineyards, Failla Winery and even the cultish Turley Wine Cellars, the pinnacle of wineries for many wine insiders) and was also able to insert a stint in Italy during the process. At Villa Montelione in Valpolicella, Italy, Michael was able to observe the ancient process of amarone development, along with producing a number of other great Italian varietals.
Of Sicilian descent, Scorsone is that remarkable professional individual that is able to pair intricate food flavors and subtle wine characteristics that allow for the near perfect pairing of food and wine. Many winemakers rely on expert chefs to provide insight into such matters, but Michael Scorsone can do it all himself. Adobe Road Winery owner Kevin Buckler sums it up thusly: ‘I feel that Michael is a degree away from being a real winemaker star. His background and work ethic will soon allow him to become great.”
Kevin Buckler - Owner
Kevin Buckler‘s other passion (besides the wine business) is motorcar racing, something he competes in at the very highest levels. The way he runs TRG (The Racing Group) Motor Sports is akin to owning a piece of the NY Yankees or the Pittsburgh Steelers.
‘The way I look at it,” stated the likeable 51-year old, ‘if you are going to do something, do it right and do it first class. To me, there’s no other way.” Kevin Buckler originally hailed from Newport Beach in Southern California and considered himself a surfer-type or normal beach boy in his youth. An elongated (3 ½ semesters) college cruise while attending UC Santa Barbara that wound up in South Africa helped change his outlook and affected his future life’s work. ‘We stopped in Capetown and I was able to visit many of the great South African wineries in the Stellenbosch Valley. I admit I had always liked wine, but this visit made me see things in a different light,” he recalled.
After living in Seattle and starting in a real estate career, Buckler’s big business success came in 1986, when he originated a real estate development company in Wichita, Kansas. The company became incredibly successful and grew to more than 200 employees. Buckler eventually sold the company to one of his competitors and moved back to California. He began dating his future wife, Debra in historic and romantic Monterey.
He next founded TRG and entered the competitive world of motor sports. TRG found success, and, in 2002, his team captured both the prestigious 24 Hours of Lemans and the Rolex 24-hour Daytona Race with his favorite Porches. He has already won both the Watkins Glen Race and the Daytona Race earlier this year and recently finished a remarkable 9th in the NASCAR Sprint Series with a small team he fields on the NASCAR circuit.
But his bona fide passion remains within in the wine industry and in Adobe Road Winery in particular. In 2008, he changed from paper labels to silkscreen to better state his attempt at quality within the bottle. A striking view of a Sonoma vineyard scene with a mountain background also includes a Porsche if you look hard enough, a reflection of what Buckler calls, ‘a look of quality.”
Kevin’s wife Debra remains the CFO for Adobe Road Winery and also the tasting coordinator. They share the plaudits of Adobe Road Winery in much the same manner as the victories of TRC Motor Sports. People like Kevin and Debra Buckler are great for the wine business as they provide an atypical look at the wine industry, not the ordinary feeling one would expect. They also provide a creative aspect that is sometimes lacking in smaller wineries, a fact that makes many wineries seem all too similar.
Kevin Buckler will continue to develop Adobe Road Winery and will win a great many more medals and accolades along the way. It is his gift to wine lovers, along with the fulfillment of his lifelong passion.