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‘Miami South Beach’ vibe envisioned for Petaluma riverfront winery complex

Stalled last spring by the burgeoning COVID-19 pandemic, construction work at the riverfront Adobe Road Winery complex is set to restart in the coming months while incorporating a host of coronavirus-era considerations, including more outdoor space.

Planning commissioners voted 4-1 last week to approve a variety updates to the winery facility and tasting room destined for a half-acre parcel between the PG&E substation and Petaluma Yacht Club on Fourth and C streets. Chief among the tweaks is an addition of a third floor described by winery owner Kevin Buckler as a “Miami South Beach” outdoor roof terrace, which will boost the building’s height by more than 9 feet.

“It really doesn’t look much different until you see that third floor,” Buckler said, referring to the new designs. “We have a pandemic going on, and I wanted to make some COVID-friendly changes for our employees and customers with more outdoor space.”

Buckler says he plans to have the project completed and ready for opening day in 12 months.

The planned modifications, set to cost $500,000, include a third-floor hospitality suite and additional outdoor seating, joining existing plans for a banquet space, brick pizza oven and an indoor motor sports museum with a 31-degree track meant to mimic the angle of the famous Daytona International Speedway. The building will be home to the Adobe Road Winery’s second Petaluma tasting room, joining its Great Petaluma Mill location, and its in-house wine production is intended to churn out about 5,000 cases of wine a year.

Buckler, a former professional race car driver who opened the winery with his wife, Debra Buckler in 2002, has called the project an “entertainment complex,” intended to serve as a magnet for tourists and corporate events.

The updated proposal also reduces the gross floor area by roughly 15%, to 13,718 square feet.

Originally intended to open last fall, the winery has been using the vacant site near the D Street Bridge for outdoor wine tasting during shelter in place orders. Buckler says he made a decision about five months ago to incorporate more open space in the building design, calling the pandemic a driving force in the changes.

Along with building adjustments, Buckler said his redesign also includes outdoor awnings, an air filtration system and a larger entryway.

“I thought, if we’re gonna build this, and this (COVID-19) situation is potentially going to be a hindrance to us for a while, then let’s deal with it,” Buckler said. “I had the chance to make the changes, so I did. It’s the first building I’ve ever heard of like this that’s taking these COVID specs to heart.”

(Contact Kathryn Palmer at kathryn.palmer@arguscourier.com, on Twitter @KathrynPlmr.)

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