From the minute she and her husband Mike opened Barber Cellars Winery, Lorraine Barber’s been working to strengthen her community.

One of the first things she did is put together a Petaluma Wine Tasting Trail Guide and distribute it free of charge to all the local wineries so that they could support one another. “I like connecting people,” she says, “and I’m a good cheerleader. If I see something good, I want to let people know about it.”

Mike and Lorraine added to their enterprise when they entered into partnership with Aaron Lee to open Barber Lee Spirits. True to form, Lorraine looked for ways to boost the efforts of all the area’s alcohol makers. She started Petaluma Drinks, a festival that celebrated and promoted the products from dozens of local craft alcohol makers, including spirits, wine, beer, cider, bitters, and fermented non-alcoholic beverages such as kombucha and kvass.

And she made sure the festival benefited the larger community by dedicating a portion of ticket sales to COTS.

“We’re rising tide sort of people,” Lorraine says. “We’ve always felt like if others do well, so do we. It feels like a very natural kind of thing.”

“I’ve always tried to put community first and put good energy into it. And this year, we really got it back,” says Lorraine. “Our community saved us and every business in town that’s still standing. Petaluma is incredible, so how could we not give back?”

That’s why, despite all the hardships and increased costs of doing business in a pandemic, Barber Cellars and Barber Lee Spirits are still giving. Those who order wines or spirits online can choose to dedicate 10 percent of their purchase price to COTS.

Their two beautifully appointed shops are on Washington Street. Barber Cellars is in the Hotel Petaluma, and Barber Lee Spirits is next door. Lorraine, who has a background in construction and renovation, is responsible for the airy and inviting décor.

“We just make things we like to drink, and we hope other people like them, too,” Lorraine says. Oftentimes, those are wines in the Italian style. She and Mike began making wine as amateurs in their San Francisco apartment, crushing grapes in the kitchen and fermenting the juices in the bedroom closet. They bought a house in Petaluma “to be closer to the vines” and they’ve remained true to Sonoma County grapes ever since.

They sold that house in order to open up Barber Cellars, a risk worth taking because “It’s what we want to do, and we love doing it.” Lorraine says. “And we are too stubborn to fail!”

They partnered with Aaron Lee to create out-of-the-ordinary spirits, including single malt rye whiskey, white absinthe and apple brandy made using local apples.

Thank you to these passionate makers. If you’d like to support COTS with the purchase of a locally crafted wine or spirit, you can click below.

Visit Barber Cellars Visit Barber Lee Spirits

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