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Welcome to Brown Brothers
Four generations of winemakers later, we’re still as excited by a new release Sparkling, or that aged 1980 Malbec that only comes out on special occasions. While we’ve collected a few laurels on our bottles, we’re not even tempted to rest on them. Instead, we use them to spur us forward; to push us beyond the status quo. To keep our minds sharp and our palates fresh, and to keep us making great wine for great people.
From our very first vintage to our experimental Kindergarten Winery, our journey of four generations of family winemaking has been anything but dull. As a key member of Australia’s First Families of Wine (AFFW), Brown Brothers is proud to have forged a reputation as innovators and trailblazers, both locally and abroad.
We brought Prosecco and Moscato to Australia. Blended Cabernet Sauvignon with Sumoll and called her Cienna. And set up our own micro-winery that we call our ‘Kindergarten’ – where there’s plenty of playtime and hardly any rules.
Whilst we’ve ventured far and wide, to this day our roots remain in the Milawa region of the King Valley, where 130 years and four generations later we’re still excited by oysters and sparkling at Christmas, our pioneering spirit, and that new favourite drop we know we’re yet to create.
"Innovation is a really big part of our business. We’re not just looking at new grape varieties, we’re also looking at new places to plant grapes, new ways to make wine, and new ways of packaging and marketing the wine. We’ve had so many great successes over the years and the reason for that is innovation." - Emma Brown, Marketing Manager
John Francis Brown plants 10 acres of vines in Milawa, Victoria in 1885. The vines are mostly Riesling, Muscat and Shiraz grapes. In 1889 the first vintage of wine is produced in the Old Barn which still stands on the property today.
Phylloxera is suspected in the vineyard and vine replanting commences with American rootstock, replacing the whole vineyard. Production is approximately 10,000 gallons and wine is predominantly sold in Melbourne.
John Charles Brown (second generation) joins his father John Francis Brown to work at the winery in Milawa. Brown Brothers wines find a ready-made market among the newly arrived Italian tobacco growers in the Ovens and King Valleys. Brown Brothers exports 6,000 gallons of Tawny Port to London. Botrytis Cinera (Noble Rot) is first sighted in the vineyards.
John Graham Brown (yes they’re all named John!) joins the business as the third generation winemaker. In 1962 refrigeration is installed at Milawa- a first for North East Victorian Wineries. Australia’s first commercial vintage of Botrytis Riesling is made in Milawa.
A severe frost destroys the vintage at Milawa. A ‘frost-free’ vineyard named Mystic Park is subsequently purchased, located in the Murray Valley. Third Generation family, John Brown, Peter Brown, Ross Brown and Roger Brown begin to work in business.
The current Cellar Door and Tasting Room is built, to encourage more visitors to Milawa and provide them with a personalised wine tasting experience.
Brown Brothers celebrates 100 years of winemaking and establishes the Kindergarten Winery: a mini-sized winery where experimental and innovative wines can be made on a smaller scale.
The Banksdale Vineyard, located at 485m in the King Valley is purchased and planted. The ‘Epicurean Centre’ is opened to provide a wine and food matching experience is opened to the public.
The first of the fourth generation of family members join the business. The Heathcote property is purchased and Brown Brothers is the first Australian wine company to launch Moscato in the Australian market.
Brown Brothers flagship Patricia collection is launched, named after the family matriarch Patricia Brown.
Australia’s First Families of Wine (AFFW) is formed, with Brown Brothers a founding member.
Brown Brothers launches its first Prosecco made from grapes grown in the Banksdale Vineyard.
Katherine Brown (4th Generation) joins the winemaking team and becomes the first female winemaker in the family.
Winemaker Cate Looney wins Female Winemaker of the Year.
Brown Brothers Restaurant awarded a Chef's Hat in the Age's Good Food Guide 2023
Brown Brothers re-launches Tarrango wine to the Australian domestic market, documenting the journey from inception to shelves with a feature-length documentary on Foxtel.
And now, we’re uncorking some of our favourite family secrets and entering a new era of innovation with the release of our feature-length documentary on Foxtel.
Next in Wine: Survival & Succession tells the story of our 4th generation family members as they experience the trials, and successes of bringing a new wine to life; from initial concepts to market, and with all the setbacks and drama in between. In partnership with Foxtel's Lifestyle Channel, the documentary delves into our rich family history with a behind-the-scenes look at how a generation of inspiring women are pushing boundaries and challenging the status quo by bringing an innovative new wine to market — made especially for the Australian climate.
“With the introduction of Tarrango, we’re looking to redefine red wine as the drink of summer, and hopefully, create a whole new wine category in Australia.”– Katherine Brown, 4th Generation