Tolosa Winery

Winery Vineyard Grower Tasting Room Custom Crush Facility Picnic Area




11am-6pm Daily

Contact Info

805-782-0500 ph
805-782-0301 fx



4910 Edna Road
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
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Larry Brooks

While some subscribe to the idea that winemaking can be learned in school, there is ample evidence that this theory is wrong. What Flaubert called a sentimental education is far more important. Wine is made as much with the heart as with the head. So to understand a winemaker it is crucial to review aesthetic as well as intellectual development.

Charles Baudelaire, in attempting to explain his upbringing, said that his pram was parked next to a bookcase so he spent his childhood living in the land of the imagination. Larry’s parents made a similar mistake when they first took him to a library. He spent most of his days with his nose in a book, and the balance in the daydreams they engendered. The complexity and mystery that is inherent in the study of Biology made good training for a winemaker. He got a BA in Botany from Rutgers University, but what was as important was the minor in Art History. At the time, Larry thought he was studying Art because the girls were prettier and the parties were wilder in the Art department. Little did he know, that these early studies in aesthetics were preparing him for the type of intuitive decisions that are at the heart of winemaking. The parties were good training as well for life in general.

An equally whimsical decision led him to UC Davis for his graduate work. The grad school catalog was illustrated with a racing bicycle. Larry loved bikes and this was all it took for him to bid farewell to the eastern seaboard.

Larry began making wine in 1979 at Acacia. He began working as an executive for the Chalone group in the mid 90’s. His work with Chalone gave him in-depth knowledge of winegrowing in the Edna Valley. This interlude as an executive winemaker saw Larry found Echelon and manage all of Chalone’s many wineries and vineyards.

In 2000, Larry went out as an independent consultant. His association with Tolosa began during this period. He had strong prior relationships with both Bob Schiebelhut and Jim Efird from working with them on various Chalone projects. He continued to work as a winemaking consultant with Tolosa until early 2006 when he accepted the position he holds today of senior winemaker.