Petaluma has a revitalized downtown with desirable restaurants, shopping and a great Americana feel. Perhaps that is why downtown was chosen for the filming of American Graffiti and numerous other films. Petaluma is one of the larger towns in wine country with a population of just under 60,000 residents in 2010. It is both the gateway to wine country and a commuter community as Petaluma is the closest town to Marin County and San Francisco. But more importantly Petaluma has lots of open spaces with old cattle and dairy farms and more recent vineyard plantings that are starting to gain recognition with the both the Sonoma Coast Appellation and Petaluma Gap area producing very good wines.
The climate is a little cooler than the areas north so the preferred grapes are Chardonnay and Pinot Noir but other varietals are grown in this region as well. Highway 101 runs north and south through Petaluma giving you great access to Santa Rosa or San Francisco.