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New Tasting Room Enlivens Sleepy Stretch of Petaluma Boulevard

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

The Brooks Note winery tasting room 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 downtown.
Garry Brooks and his wife, Joanne Note Brooks, opened the tasting room last August. 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, Garry set out to find a home for Brooks Note. The search brought him to a 100-year-old building in Petaluma that originally housed a Studebaker dealership. For Brooks, its proximity to the downtown area and 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,” he said. “And there’s such an amazing vibe in Petaluma, between the music and the art and the food.”

Transforming the space into a modern tasting room was no simple effort. In the process, the couple peeled back layers of paint to expose the ceiling’s original wood beams and reused the building’s original materials when they could.

The result is an open and inviting tasting room with stylish lounge and 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. Visitors can choose between three flights of five wines each, including current releases, single-vineyard wines and pinot noir-only selections. Each flight, 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 are a little bit more restrained,” Garry said. “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 said, is to treat the grapes with respect so a sense of place emerges in the wines.

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

“People can think of wine as elitist,” he said. “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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