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Brooks Note Tasting Room Livens Up a Sleepy Stretch of Petaluma Boulevard

Just a few blocks from Petaluma’s downtown hub, the industrial tasting space offers elegant local wines in a modern, stylish setting.

The Brooks Note winery tasting room has been open for almost a year, but many locals and visitors have yet to discover this hidden Petaluma gem. Set along a stretch of Petaluma Boulevard better known for auto body shops than fine wine, this bright and modern space is less than a 10-minute walk from the downtown hub.

Opened last August, Brooks Note is run by Garry Brooks and his wife Joanne (Note) Brooks. Garry left his job in IT business management in 2004 to pursue winemaking, and went on to work at Sonoma County’s Ravenswood Winery, Kosta Browne and Dutton-Goldfield before launching his own Pinot Noir label in 2012.

In 2018, with several vintages under his belt, Brooks set out to find a dedicated home for Brooks Note. The search eventually brought him to a 100-year-old building that originally housed a Studebaker dealership. To Brooks, the downtown location and proximity to some of his favorite Petaluma Gap vineyards sealed the deal.

“I’ve been making wine from this area for as long as I’ve been in the business,” says Brooks, “and there’s such an amazing vibe in Petaluma between the music and the art and the food.”

Transforming the space into a modern, industrial tasting room was no simple effort. In the process, the Brookses peeled back layers of paint to expose the ceiling’s original wooden beams, and reused the building’s original materials whenever possible.

The result is an open and inviting tasting room with stylish lounge, table, and bar seating. The space is also home to the Brooks Note winemaking facility, which includes a solar-cooled barrel room and a production area that doubles as an indoor crush pad.

Tasting reservations at Brooks Note are appreciated, but not required. Guests may choose between three different flights of five wines each, including current releases, single-vineyard offerings, and Pinot Noir-only selections. Each flight, ranging from $30 to $75, includes a plate of local cheeses and charcuterie. Wines include Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and a Rhône-style red blend.

“Stylistically, my wines a little bit more restrained,” says Brooks. “I make my Pinots in a very similar way to when I was at Kosta Browne, but we pick the grapes when they are a little less ripe. I really want there to be a balance of fruit and herbal flavors.” The goal, he adds, is to treat the grapes with respect so that a sense of place comes through in the wines.

Brooks also likes to keep things approachable in the tasting room. In addition to offering tasting flights, Brooks Note hosts live music every other Friday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and offers wines by the glass.

“People can think of wine as elitist,” he says, “but we try to create an environment where people feel welcome to come in.”

Open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day. 426 Petaluma Blvd. N., Petaluma, 707-981-8470, brooksnotewinery.com

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