Travel Tip: Where to Dine and Taste in Petaluma

California's riverside town and its nearby wineries are Sonoma's hidden gem in California wine country
Travel Tip: Where to Dine and Taste in Petaluma
Petaluma's historic downtown adds to the locale's charm. (Courtesy of Petaluma Visitors Program)
Sep 10, 2018

This tip originally appeared in the Oct. 15, 2018, issue of Wine Spectator, "California Pinot Noir." Pick up your copy, on newsstands now!

California's riverside town of Petaluma, about an hour's drive north of San Francisco, was historically known for chicken farming. During the early 1900s, the town was a world leader in the poultry industry, with hundreds of farms and an estimated 4 million hens.

Today, Petaluma's rolling hills have melded with a burgeoning wine country as growers discover that the cool, breezy climate is a sweet spot for Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Syrah. The Petaluma Gap AVA is situated at the southern end of Sonoma County and covers more than 200,000 acres, with 4,000 planted among 80 different growers.

The town of Petaluma sits in the heart of the Petaluma Gap AVA. Many of its turn-of-the-century buildings remain and have been repurposed as antiques shops and boutique stores, restaurants and tasting rooms. The historic Hotel Petaluma, renovated in 2017, is within walking distance of the small downtown. For a glimpse of Petaluma's flair, we've profiled two standout restaurants.

Adobe Road has a small tasting room and ambitious expansion plans along the Petaluma River, to be completed in 2020. There is also a handful of tasting rooms and wineries downtown and nearby.

If your visit to Petaluma coincides with the Sonoma County Harvest Fair, Oct. 5-7, the event is an easy half-hour drive away and offers the opportunity to try more than 300 local wines.


The Drawing Board
Website www.tdbpetaluma.com

Emma K Morris
The Drawing Board's fresh, seasonal fare

There's been a recent shift in food trends in California, with attention given to ancient preparations, practices and ingredients—think fermented and foraged. The Drawing Board capitalizes on this movement, offering a seasonal menu with many gluten-free and vegan options that don't skimp on flavor. In the carrot "lox" dish, cured, thinly cut carrots are spread over slices of levain bread with cashew cream cheese and foraged seaweed. But it's not all vegetables: There are hearty, sustainable meat options such as braised lamb, and roasted chicken with sunchoke puree and housemade sauerkraut.

The intriguing cocktails are made with local herbs and botanicals, while the wine list offers a well-rounded mix of local and international selections that skew biodynamic and organic. The decor is unique and welcoming. Light pendants and plants dangle from the high ceiling amid exposed brick and wooden beams.


Central Market
Website www.centralmarketpetaluma.com

This casual restaurant, a local staple for 15 years, epitomizes the region's farm-to-table food culture. Chef Tony Najiola raises pigs and hens and grows much of the produce on his organic farm. Breads and pastas are made from scratch. The menu offers dishes such as wood-roasted vegetables with lemon tahini sauce, as well as housemade charcuterie, pizzas and wood-grilled meats. The 80-selection wine list spans the globe and focuses on organic, biodynamic and sustainable selections that are both wallet- and food-friendly.


Where to taste in Petaluma

Ali Harper
McEvoy Ranch's tasting room patio

Adobe Road Winery
6 Petaluma Blvd. N., Suite 1A
(707) 774-6699
www.adoberoadwines.com

Keller Estate
5875 Lakeville Highway
(707) 765-2117
www.kellerestate.com

McEvoy Ranch
5935 Red Hill Road
(866) 617-6779
www.mcevoyranch.com/wine

United States California Sonoma

You Might Also Like

Eat Your Whey Through Vermont Cheese Country: Brattleboro and Beyond

Eat Your Whey Through Vermont Cheese Country: Brattleboro and Beyond

Take a sneak peek at Wine Spectator 's special cheese travel issue, on newsstands now

Aug 12, 2019
Travel: 5 Los Angeles Hotel Restaurants that Excel in Wine

Travel: 5 Los Angeles Hotel Restaurants that Excel in Wine

Hotels in California's City of Angels up their game with extensive wine lists

Apr 22, 2019
Travel: The Latest Miami Hot Spots

Travel: The Latest Miami Hot Spots

A wave of wine-focused venues are bringing renewed interest to South Florida's already …

Mar 25, 2019
Travel: Top Dining in 4 Cities

Travel: Top Dining in 4 Cities

Our editors' latest discoveries in New York, London, Paris and Prague

Feb 25, 2019
Winter Travel: It's All About the Après-Ski

Winter Travel: It's All About the Après-Ski

Top destinations in Canada, Switzerland and Wyoming to wine down after a long day of …

Jan 28, 2019
Travel to California's Underdog Wine Destination

Travel to California's Underdog Wine Destination

Workhorse wine region Lodi is coming into its own, evolving into a source of fine wine as …

Dec 3, 2018
WineRatings+

WineRatings+

Xvalues

Xvalues

Restaurant Search

Restaurant Search