The plazas in Healdsburg and Sonoma have long been buzzing with winery tasting rooms. But, until recently, downtown Petaluma was something of a wine desert. That’s starting to change as tasting rooms open across the West Side, offering locals and visitors the chance to sip and stroll their way around town. With a manageable number of venues to choose from, limited tourist traffic and cozy tasting spaces, downtown Petaluma is a fun, laid-back alternative to some of Sonoma County’s better-known wine tasting destinations.
Adobe Road Winery
Owned by professional race car driver and team owner Kevin Buckler, Adobe Road pours a variety of Sonoma County and Napa Valley wines. The compact tasting room inside the Great Petaluma Mill extends into the parking lot, where a heated tent invites guests to sit and sip. Flights range from $30 for the classic tasting to $50 for the Racing Series flight, and fees are waived with minimum purchase. Adobe Road recently broke ground on a new 16,000-square-foot winery and tasting room on the waterfront, so expect to find a whole new setup in a year or so.
Open 11 a.m.-7 p.m. daily. 6 Petaluma Blvd. North, Suite 1A, adoberoadwines.com
Set inside the Hotel Petaluma, Mike and Lorraine Barber’s sunny tasting room faces out onto Washington Street for optimal people-watching. Once inside, sample small-production, single-vineyard wines from Sonoma County vineyards including Pinot Noir, Zinfandel and Sauvignon Blanc. The $20 tasting fee, waived with a two-bottle purchase, is one of the most reasonable you’ll find in the area. If you’re feeling snacky, order one of Barber Cellars’ fancy grilled cheese sandwiches, made with Point Reyes Toma, or a charcuterie plate.
Open 1-7 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 1-6 p.m. Sunday. 112 Washington St., barbercellars.com
Black Knight Vineyards
Black Knight gets its name from Mitch Black, owner of the Black Knight vineyard east of Santa Rosa. The small and stylish tasting room includes a small parklet on Petaluma Boulevard where guests can sip Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and sparkling wines by the glass or flight. Prices range from $20 for a sparkling wine flight to $35 for a vertical tasting of Chardonnay or library tasting, and fees are waved with a minimum bottle purchase.
Open 2-7 p.m. Thursday, 12-8 p.m. Friday-Sunday. 155 Petaluma Blvd North, 707-278-6877, blackknightvineyards.com
Take a stroll up Petaluma Boulevard and you’ll find a stylish, modern tasting room with comfortable bar, table and lounge seating. Founded by former Kosta Browne winemaker Garry Brooks, Brooks Note focuses on elegant Sonoma County Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines, as well as Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. Visitors can choose between three different flights ranging from $30 to $75, which include a plate of local cheeses and charcuterie. The winery hosts live music on some Friday evenings, with wines available by the glass.
Open 11 a.m.-6 p.m. daily. 426 Petaluma Blvd. North, 707-981-8470, brooksnotewinery.com
La Dolce Vita Wine Lounge
La Dolce Vita wine bar pours an intriguing selection of 40 or so local and international wines by the taste, glass, half carafe and bottle. Take a seat inside or on the lively Theater Square patio to sample a variety of flights, ranging from $21 for Exotic Whites to $43 for the reserve tasting. Friendly and knowledgeable owner Sahar Gharai also sells bottles to go at retail prices, so guests can enjoy their favorite selections at home. Food offerings include pizzas, panini, housemade hummus, salumi and other wine-friendly fare.
Open 3-9 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 3-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. 151 Petaluma Blvd. South, ldvwine.com
Port-style fortified wines are the specialty at Bill and Caryn Reading’s Sonoma Portworks, along with liqueurs, brandies and sherries, including the popular hazelnut-infused DUET. For just $15, guests can step into the cozy-industrial tasting room inside Petaluma’s Foundry Wharf to taste four California ports and two distilled spirits. The tasting finishes with a sampling of Sonomic vinegars.
Open noon to 5 p.m. Thursday-Monday. 613 Second St., portworks.com
Vine & Barrel Wines
Jason Jenkins recently moved his bottle shop from cave-like digs on Petaluma Boulevard to a bright storefront space on Kentucky Street. Along with offering local and international bottles for sale, Vine & Barrel pours about a dozen wines by the glass, served with tapas-style snacks like cheeses, charcuterie and tinned seafood.
Open 12-6 p.m. Tuesday, 12-7 p.m. Wednesday, 12-9 p.m. Thursday, 12-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday, and 12-5 p.m. Sunday. 122A Kentucky St., 707, 765-1112, vineandbarrel.com