Our Story

Celebrating 130 years of Innovative winemaking

Original cellar door 1968

Our Story

Brown Brothers is one of Australia’s leading family-owned wine companies with experience in crafting wine since 1889.

We have four generations of family involvement in our business and we are proud of our local Milawa heritage. While heritage is at the heart of our brand, we are far from a traditional wine company.

Our affinity for innovation and experimentation has driven our direction.

We have established a reputation as a winery that challenges the status quo by developing new grape varieties and partnering with the CSIRO to support ongoing viticulture research.

We are a key member of Australia’s First Families of Wine (AFFW) and are proud to have forged a reputation locally and abroad, as varietal wine specialists and winemaking innovators.

Over the years we’ve seen many changes in the Australian Wine industry, yet the cornerstones of Brown Brothers remain constant. We remain a family business; hand-crafting wine.

Brown Brothers Barn - Milawa

Old Barn still stands from 1889


Men & Horses Working in Vineyard- 1920's

Men & Horses Working in Vineyard- 1920’s


original cellar door 1968

Original cellar door 1968


John C Brown and his sons

John C Brown and his sons


The Kindergarten Winery build in 1989

The Kindergarten Winery build in 1989


John C Brown and Patricia Brown

John C Brown and Patricia Brown


4th generation Katherine and Caroline Brown

4th generation Katherine and Caroline Brown

1885-1889

How it all began

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.

1916-1920

Wine sold in Melbourne

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.

1933-1934

Son joins the winery

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.

1958-1962

Grandson becomes winemaker

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.

1968

A severe frost destroys the vintage at 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.

1980

A new Cellar Door

The current Cellar Door and Tasting Room is built, to encourage more visitors to Milawa and provide them with a personalised wine tasting experience.

1989

A centenary celebration

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.

1994

A new wine and food experience

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. (Now named Patricia’s Table restaurant and wine bar).

1996-1998

First to Australian Market

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.

2003

Launch of Patricia

Brown Brothers flagship Patricia collection is launched, named after the family Matriarch Patricia Brown.

2009-2010

Prosecco and Tasmania

Brown Brothers launches the first release of Prosecco made from grapes grown in the Banksdale Vineyard. Australia’s First Families of Wine (AFFW) is formed with Brown Brothers as a key member.

2015-2018

Now

Katherine Brown (fourth generation) joins the winemaking team and becomes the first female winemaker in the family. Brown Brothers is awarded ‘Most Loved Brand’ at the 2015 and 2017 Australian Drinks Awards. Fourth generation, Caroline Brown, and Emma Brown working full time in the business and Eliza Brown and Cynthia Brown as Board Directors.