Brooks Announces New Head Winemaker!


3 minutes reading

In the heart of Oregon’s Willamette Valley, Brooks Winery stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of founder Jimi Brooks and the unwavering commitment of its dedicated team. As the winery celebrates its 25th anniversary, a new chapter begins with the appointment of Claire Jarreau as Head Winemaker, continuing the tradition of excellence established by Jimi Brooks and upheld by esteemed winemaker Chris Williams.

Rise to Winemaker

Claire Jarreau’s journey to the helm of Brooks Winery is a testament to her dedication and expertise. With nearly a decade of experience at Brooks, Claire has risen from a vineyard intern to her current role as Associate Winemaker. Her passion for winemaking and commitment to sustainability has been integral to the winery’s success, earning Brooks international recognition for its top-tier Riesling and Pinot Noir.

In her new role as Head Winemaker, Claire will lead winemaking efforts across Brooks’ entire portfolio while maintaining close relationships with vineyard partners throughout the valley. Her appointment is significant for Brooks Winery as it continues to build upon its legacy of excellence and innovation in the wine industry.
Reflecting on her journey, Claire shares, “Brooks Winery is a unique place where my passions for regenerative farming, site-specific Riesling, and Eola-Amity Pinot Noir converge. Joining the team in 2014 was a serendipitous opportunity, and I am thrilled to continue focusing on these shared pursuits in the vintages ahead.”

The Master Mentor

Chris Williams, the outgoing Head Winemaker, will continue to play a vital role at Brooks Winery, offering his support and expertise to Claire and the winemaking team. Regarding Claire’s appointment, Chris highlights her dedication and passion for winemaking. “I’ve seen Claire grow tremendously as a winemaker over the last ten years. Claire’s commitment to making wonderful wines and her dedication to Brooks is top tier,” he says. “Her care for the brand, the land, and the community is tangible.”

Women in Wine

Claire’s appointment also highlights the growing presence of women in winemaking, where they still represent a minority. With only 33 percent of Oregon’s winemaking workforce being women and less than 20 percent nationwide, Claire hopes to inspire more women to pursue leadership roles in the industry. She emphasizes the importance of mentorship and inclusion, recognizing the challenges that women continue to face.

At Brooks Winery, Claire’s leadership is supported by Managing Director Janie Brooks Heuck, whose guidance has been instrumental in Claire’s development. Janie’s commitment to sustainability, land stewardship, and community engagement aligns perfectly with Claire’s vision for the future of Brooks Winery.

Claire Jarreau, newly appointed Head Winemaker at Brooks Winery, stands in the Barrel Room alongside esteemed Winemaker and mentor, Chris Williams, and Managing Director, Janie Heuck.

Continuing Excellence Into The Next 25 Years

Looking ahead, Claire acknowledges the legacy of Chris Williams, an invaluable mentor and colleague. Chris’s dedication to Biodynamic methods and small-lot fermentation has helped shape the identity of Brooks Winery, and Claire is grateful for his support as she steps into her new role.

Regarding the transition, Janie Brooks Heuck expresses her confidence in Claire’s leadership: “Claire’s passion and commitment align perfectly with our mission, and I have no doubt that she will continue to elevate the excellence for which Brooks is known.”

As Brooks Winery enters this new chapter under Claire Jarreau’s leadership, guided by the enduring legacy of Jimi Brooks, the future looks bright. With a focus on tradition, innovation, and sustainability, Brooks Winery is poised to continue its journey as a beacon of excellence in American winemaking.