Celebrating our Women in Wine this International Women’s Day

More than 130 years after John Francis Brown planted 10 acres of vines in Milawa, Victoria, his great-grandchildren are now making and marketing the wines that bear his name – a generation that is being dominated by women.

With women leading the way, Brown Brothers has Eliza and Cynthia Brown driving strategic direction at board level, Caroline Brown who looks after Corporate Communications, Katherine Brown as the Portfolio Manager for Premium Wines, Emma Brown is the Group’s Marketing Manager and Angela Brown who leads the Brown Family Council.

Katherine, who was named one of the Top 50 winemakers in the 2018 Young Gun of Wine awards, says that driving the family business forward is at the heart of everything she does, and that includes supporting women in a largely male-dominated industry.

“As one of Australia’s First Families of Wine (AFFW), we value our next generation’s approach to innovation, thoughts and ideas and my grandfather would be proud to know that the business is still a true family affair,” says Katherine.

“Although we hold the name Brown Brothers, our business has an extremely strong female influence running through our past, present and future. We are proud to celebrate our Senior Winemaker, Cate Looney, who was named Winemaker of the Year at the 2020 Australian Women in Wine Awards. Cate leads our team of four winemakers, who produce more than one million cases of wine a year, and is committed to driving innovation for Brown Brothers and the wine industry.”

Looking to the past, Emma Brown says that her grandmother and the Brown family matriarch Patricia Brown, affectionately known as Nanna, was extremely influential in shaping Brown Brothers’ growth and culture of innovation.

“Patricia was only slight in stature however she made up for it with her tenacious spirit. She taught us (her grandkids) how to grow vegetables and cook, how to farm and how to be frugal. Most of all she was fiercely loyal to her family, and loved her husband, boys and grandkids dearly,” says Emma.

“Nanna was also the unofficial CEO. Hands down. She was the tea lady, the mail lady (often accidentally reading mail not addressed to her!) and she welcomed everyone who visited the winery with open arms. She was the people and culture manager before roles like this even existed!”

To celebrate her bold and generous spirit, we released our flagship Patricia range in 2003. And just like our memory of her, these wines are distinctly unique and full of life.

As we celebrate our matriarch’s birthday alongside the global International Women’s Day this month, we’re proud to announce the 19th release of Patricia has arrived: a collection of beautifully expressive, enigmatic wines built upon the core family values that have been passed down through generations.

And if a wine doesn’t meet the standards of Patricia, it simply won’t bear her name.