Patricia Brown was the devoted wife of John Charles Brown and loving mother to John Graham, Peter, Ross and Roger. Patricia Brown passed away in September 2004, age 89. Patricia married John in 1939 and after joining him at the Milawa vineyard she became integral to the operation of the family business – from running a household, to travelling to promote the business, to entertaining; Patricia’s contributions made Brown Brothers the success it is today.
A chance meeting in the Victorian coastal town of Lorne in 1937 set Patricia Mathews and John Charles Brown on the path to forming one of the most enduring and influential partnerships in Australian wine history.
When Pat arrived in Milawa in 1939, the new Mrs Brown was a long way from her family’s dairy farm at Drouin in Gippsland, and in unfamiliar territory around a vineyard and winery.
In the early years she took no part in running the vineyard. She was too busy running a household – particularly as the four boys came along. She cooked on a wood stove, washed in a wood-fired copper and wrung clothes by hand. In fact they didn’t have electricity until 1942 and didn’t buy a washing machine until after Ross, their third son was born. However, as her four sons grew, so did her quest for wine knowledge – fuelled by some lively question and answer sessions around the family dinner table. Mrs Brown described her passion for wine as a ‘slow developing interest’, which she fostered while helping to serve customers at Cellar Door. It was further fuelled through exploring its combination with the flavours of food.
In the early days all the entertaining was done in the family home – it was a continual stream. According to her third son Ross, his mother must be credited with the Brown Brothers fascination with flavours – both in food and wine.
Pat and John Charles travelled extensively promoting the business in and overseas. Mrs Brown had many fond memories of their numerous trips to the United Kingdom, Italy, Japan and New Zealand.
While the four brothers inherited their father’s self-sufficiency, it is clear that their determination to succeed at whatever they tackled was, in large part, inherited from their mother.
Cheers Patricia Brown
Patricia range of wine
In recognition of her passion for all that happened in the family business and as a dedication for her hard work and the love she gave her family, the flagship range of six Brown Brothers wines was named in her honour.