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To celebrate Petaluma’s growth in the wine industry, we decided it was time to have a dedicated place (website) focused on it. PetalumaWine.com was created by our team to increase our viticulture footprint in the digital world. We want people to easily find and learn to love the wines produced by our local vintners and winemakers. We want to generate some excitement over the Petaluma Gap region so wine lovers will want to stop in Petaluma as part of their wine country experience.
In the near future the website will have maps and listings of wineries, vineyards and tasting rooms. We will also feature Petaluma restaurants and chefs who regularly offer Petaluma or Petaluma Gap wines on their wine lists and can recommend pairings with their menus. In the future we will also be adding links to local stores who carry Petaluma wines and any wine clubs.
We hope that you like the logo and think that it well represents our industry incorporating a leghorn rooster with wine glass and egg basket full of bottled wine on a Petaluma Gap backdrop.
Thank you for sharing this new website on your timeline.
When most people hear Petaluma, they think of butter and eggs. Over the last few years, the fortunes of the wine coming from this area have risen. But while this recent surge in grapes and wine has added to the area’s notoriety, this is by no means recent. The Petaluma region has been involved in quality grape and wine production for decades.
In the beginning…
Today’s grape growers and winemakers in the Petaluma area can trace a long lineage in this vinous endeavor. The area around Petaluma had many thriving vineyards in the mid-1800s. John Staedler had vineyards near the town in the 1860s. William Bihler planted vines on the banks of Petaluma Creek, on the hillsides, then out in the Lakeville area by the late 1870s. Many others, including James Fair, as well as immigrants from Germany, Italy, France and Switzerland, planted vineyards of various sizes during this time.
In 1884, G.V. Fischer established the first winery in Petaluma; James Fair started on in the Lakeville area shortly after. Fair’s winery soon had a 600,000 gallons capacity – one of the largest in the state at the time. Along with the problems in the French winegrowing industry at around this time (due to phylloxera), many areas in California, including Petaluma, established more vineyards, to meet the demand for wine for a global market. Around the turn of the 29th Century, the area had a bit more than 1,000 acres under vine. Of course, there were changes in the wind: Phylloxera and Prohibition. Because of the devastation of the vineyards by the former, and the lack of need for grapes caused by the latter, many vineyards simply changed to other agriculture.
A New Hope
But, luckily, by the early 1990s, growers were looking for places that could grow top-quality grapes, and many started looking at the Petaluma area as a source.ove the last quarter century, vineyard acreage has grown to around 4,000 acres. The predominant grape during this resurgence has been Pinot Noir. Approximately 75% of the acreage in the area is this wonderful, if sometimes fickle, variety. The next two varieties are Chardonnay and Syrah (nearly equal), with less than 1% comprised of some exciting varieties, such as Tempranillo, Viognier and Pinot Gris.
While the soils and contours of the land are special in shaping the vineyards, what gives the grapes in the Petaluma Gap (as it is called) their distinctness is the weather – mainly the fog and wind. The fog brings cooling, in the early morning and late afternoon to the area, and helps the vines and grapes “relax” after a day of growing. The wind not only brings additional cooling, but helps the skins of the grapes toughen up, to withstand the barrage of the gusts. This toughening, especially in the red grapes, helps them achieve more color and flavors, which yield wines of deeper color, aromas and tastes. The Gap stretches from Bodega Bay and Dillon Beach on the coast, eastward through southern Sonoma and northern Marin Counties, through the Petaluma area, and finally sweeping south east, down the Petaluma River and out to San Pablo Bay. The winds are pulled through this area at much higher speed than the surrounding areas, giving the grapes there toughness, flavor and distinct characters that have become the hallmark of wines from the Petaluma Gap. All of this has lead for the application for American Viticultural Area status with the federal government. While still in its early stages, all signs are pointing toward establishing the Petaluma Gap as a new AVA.
With a long history of quality grape growing and winemaking, the Petaluma area is poised to keep advancing forward – in quality, in recognition, and of enjoyment of its wines.
Last week we introduced you to Sherrie Perkovich as a new Petaluma Wine! contributor and she did an awesome job with her first post Wind to Wine: the #Petaluma Gap story. This week we are pleased to announce our second wine contributor, David Sandri. David is a veteran in the wine industry for over 25 years and has earned the title of Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) from the Society of Wine Educators, Advanced Certification with Wines & Spirit Education Trust (WSET), and is a Wine Location Specialist (WLS). He has 10-years experience in wine judging throughout the United States and is published internationally. He regularly lectures in the Sonoma State University Wine program on various topics, and helped in the development of wine appreciation courses through College of Marin.
With David and Sherrie contributing to Positively Petaluma there will be no other local source or publication as focused on creating content around Petaluma’s wine industry. We are very excited to have two very experienced wine contributors on our team who will help put Petaluma Wines on the map.
We are very excited to start our new Petaluma Wine! column. We welcome our first wine contributor Sherrie Perkovich. Sherrie is a 16-year resident of California that comes to us via Chicago. Her focus here will be on the Petaluma Gap wine growing region and the wineries and vineyards in the Gap. Sherrie is on the marketing committee for the Petaluma Gap Winegrowers Alliance and thus has the inside track as this region begins its journey to become an official AVA. In addition to Positively Petaluma, she also writes for CommDigiNews.com, AmericanWineryGuide.com and TheGrapeHunter.com. Sherrie has been writing since 2011 with a focus on wine, travel, entertainment and things to do around the San Francisco Bay Area. Follow her on Twitter @BigNoseWino.
Please welcome Sherrie to our growing staff of excellent contributors.
Photo: Guarachi Family Winery, From Sherrie Perkovich
The wine industry is growing in Petaluma. As you may be aware (if you been reading our columns see #Petaluma Celebrates “The Birth of an AVA – Petaluma Gap”) that the Petaluma GAP Alliance is pursuing its own AVA. The Petaluma Historic Library and Museum in the recent past had a great display of Petaluma’s viticulture history that some believe dates back over 150 years. If you live here it is hard not to notice over the past several decades that our landscape is changing from hills of dried grass to beautiful green grape vines. Petalumans often boast that our city is the “gateway” to the wine country. We want to give more depth to our rich history and growing industry, so that people visiting the wine country don’t just think of Petaluma as a “gateway”. A gateway serves as an entrance or a means of access to the wine country. We would rather like to think of it as – just the “wine country” and a great place to stop and not just a place to drive through to get access to the wine country. We decided to create this column dedicated to Petaluma Wine!. We will cover wines made from Petaluma grapes, wineries, tasting rooms, wine makers, owners/families, industry trends, Petaluma GAP, history, and vineyards in the Petaluma (GAP) region as seen in the map. Positively Petaluma will focus on getting the word out to put our wine industry “on the map” by creating content that people from outside our area will find when searching for information on the local wineries but at the same time great for locals to learn more about what’s going on in Petaluma. Hopefully over time more restaurants in Petaluma will offer wines made here, and people will want to visit and stay at Hotel Petaluma and do tastings here and perhaps tours with Pure Luxury Transportation. More people here and far will come to know our local community wines and share them with friends and come to learn to love and purchase wines made right here.
Stay tuned for more on Petaluma Wine! We have some very exciting new contributors (wine experts) writing columns in the very near future. In the next few months we will be also be giving it dedicated space on all social media as well as a new website for those who just want to follow the Petaluma wine industry.
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