Following its close cousin Sonoma into the fray of a wine-drenched cultural identity, Petaluma too, is in the midst of pouring itself into Wine Country. The indicators surround us, not least of which the pending approval of the Petaluma Gap as an official American Viticultural Area and the occasional wine tasting room downtown. But on the street, the transformation is closer to home – especially if you live near Charley’s Deli, Fine Wine and Spirits.

The south boulevard neighborhood deli and liquor store has stepped up its wine game – not just in terms of selection (which is growing) but with a tasting room too.

“My, my father-in-law, Charley, built it in 1975,” recounts Ron Badaglia, who, with his wife Stacey, reacquired the business last June after it had been with a small array of local owners, though the real estate had remained in the family. They relaunched the business last November and since then, word of mouth has trickled out regarding the on-premise tasting room tucked away in the rear of the local landmark.

A Wine Tasting Room for Locals

And though tourists are certainly welcome, unlike Sonoma, say, the renewed vision of Charley’s is to cater to locals.

“We want the neighbors coming in in the back, having a beer, having a glass of wine, watching the game,” says Badaglia. In fact, if you’re feeling ambitious, or have the time for a leisurely stay, you can purchase a bottle of wine and enjoy it with friends on the premises. Likewise, the prices are competitive – a good summer-sipper rosé, for example, runs about $15.

“We try to be competitive because we have the licenses we have, we’re able to be a little more competitive,” says Badaglia. “Instead of putting that in our pockets we push that over to our customers.”

The wine tasting room doesn’t require reservations, though game days are likely to bring a crowd to the intimate space.

“Right now we’re open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., but that will adjust here the summer and the employees gettining out of school and being able to put in longer hours,” says Badaglia. “So, that’s great.”

Charley’s Deli, Fine Wine and Spirits is located at 601 Petaluma Blvd S., Petaluma, CA. (707) 763-1714.

Daedalus Howell lives online at DaedalusHowell.com.