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Victory Lap | Adobe Road Winery Races into the Hearts of Wine Country

Adobe Road Winery by racer Kevin Buckler

Carlye Klick

Prominent racecar driver Kevin Buckler races to victory creating award-winning wines at his Adobe Road Winery.

According to former racecar driver and owner of Adobe Road Winery, wine and racing are actually very similar businesses. “You know the joke that the way you get a small fortune in the wine business is to start with a large one,” he asked me. “It’s the same in the racing business.”

All kidding aside, the 62-year-old Buckler has had the Midas touch in each career he’s pursued. After a brief stint with Dean Witter, he shifted into real estate becoming a turnaround expert and building a strong business in the Midwest. When he sold it, he headed back to his roots in Southern California with the dream of getting into the motorsports industry.

Driving a rebuilt 1970 Porsche 911 Buckler stunned the racing world by winning the race, proving that months of planning, training and practicing pay off.

car racer and winemaker Kevin Buckler

Courtesy Adobe Road Winery

“Growing up my friends and I went to a lot of car rallies. My childhood was a bit like American Graffiti,” he said. “I always had sports cars and eventually a track car. I loved it.”

Before Adobe Road Winery and being a dreamer with a head for business, Buckler founded The Racers Group, which provided service, parts, arrive-and-drive events and training to the industry, as a way to be involved, but also turn a profit in racing. Then in 1995 a friend who owned Togo’s gave Buckler the chance to race for him at the California Grand Prix. Driving a rebuilt 1970 Porsche 911 Buckler stunned the racing world by winning the race, proving that months of planning, training and practicing pay off.

“Prior to the race I was asking all the drivers for their autographs,” he said with a laugh.

Kevin Buckler car racer founder Adobe Road

Courtesy Adobe Road Winery

Soon Buckler became the one people sought out for autographs. The Racers Group holds the record for the most wins and podiums of any independent GT team in North American racing history. Buckler won four times at the Rolex 24 in Daytona and on his first attempt racing the 24 hours of Le Mans, won the GT championship.

“I felt like Rocky Balboa. When we arrived, we were so outgunned,” said Buckler. “It was like the Dirty Dozen went to France.”

But Buckler won the ICONIC race using the same philosophy he’s used to achieve success in wine country with Adobe Road Winery.

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Adobe Road Winery by Kevin Buckler

Carlye Klick

“I go into a situation and assess it,” he explains. “Most everyone else looks at the bling and none of that is what wins races. What wins is practicing and making no mistakes.”

And so far, Buckler hasn’t made any mistakes in wine country either. Buckler and his wife Debra launched Adobe Road in 2002, and today the winery puts out a large variety of wines, many awarded 90 points or more. The winery purchases grapes from several vineyards throughout Sonoma County, and was named Adobe Road in honor of the Petaluma road they first purchased fruit on.

Next year Adobe Road will unveil a $15 million tasting room and entertainment complex along the riverfront in downtown Petaluma, becoming the city’s first working winery.

car racing Kevin Buckler Adobe Road Winery

Carlye Klick

Next year Adobe Road will unveil a $15 million tasting room and entertainment complex along the riverfront in downtown Petaluma, becoming the city’s first working winery. In addition to the winery and tasting room, the facility will have lots of outdoor event space and a motorsports museum.

In late 2019, Adobe Road Winery launched its Racing Series line of wine. The boxed set of four premium red blends celebrates different moments on the track and represents a true collaboration between Buckler and his winemaker, Garrett Martin.

“A team is always better than its individual parts. I have a really good palate, but I don’t make wine. I’m heavily involved in our blends, but the single varietals are all Garrett.”

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Kevin Buckler founder Adobe Road Winery

Courtesy Adobe Road Winery

The Racing Series is a limited-edition gift box set that includes Apex, the best expression of a high-end Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon, The 24, a Rhone-style GSM blend, Redline, a 90-point red blend and Shift, a 93-point blend.

It’s no surprise that Buckler would want to take his wine country show on the road, and this year decked out a 40-foot trailer creating the first pop-up winery. The pop-up winery does everything from private VIP parties to events like the LeCom golf tournament and “Festivals of Speed” events staged at luxury locations like Ferrari dealerships or Ritz Carlton resorts.

Whether behind the wheel of a car or behind the scenes creating a Cabernet blend, Buckler continues to push boundaries and win with Adobe Road Winery.

Kevin and Debra Buckler will be hosting a series of private events March 25 to March 28. If you want to learn more or want to be a part of the Petaluma wine experience, message us on Instagram @youriconiclife, and we’ll connect you.

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