Long seen as a rising star in the world of wine, the Petaluma Gap AVA received final approval in December from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, making the region the 18th official wine appellation for Sonoma County. The Petaluma Gap carries the distinction of being the closest AVA region to San Francisco.
The AVA designation recognizes the unique growing conditions of the area, covering 4,000 acres of vineyards from southern Sonoma County into northern Marin County. The opening in the coastal mountains, or gap, draws wind and fog from the Pacific through Petaluma, eventually reaching the Bay. The daily temperature can vary as much as 50 degrees allowing wine grapes to ripen later and reach their full flavor potential. The Petaluma Gap is known for pinot noir – 75 percent of the acreage is planted in pinot grapes with the balance in chardonnay and syrah.
Several Petaluma Gap winery members have tasting rooms in Petaluma where visitors can taste the depth and complexity that result from the “wind tunnel” microclimate. Located in historic downtown, enjoy the intimate tasting rooms of Adobe Road Winery and Sonoma Portworks. At Keller Estate, tastings are offered in the lounge or on the terrace overlooking olive groves, rolling hills and magnificent views of Mount Tamalpais. Visitors can experience the beauty of McEvoy Ranch at wine bar tastings or walking tours. Located just a few miles out of town, taste Azari Vineyards award-winning Pinot Noir on their Tuscan vineyard estate.