Brown Brothers trace their origins back to 1885 when John Francis Brown planted 10 acres (4 hectares) of mostly Riesling, Muscat and Shiraz grapes on his property at Milawa, Victoria. They were among the first plantings in the King Valley. From the late 1970s, as the tobacco industry was phased out, more winemakers established themselves in the Valley.
The King Valley in north-east Victoria runs north from the Alpine region to the Murray River, with altitudes varying from 800m in the south to 155m at the northern end. The region promotes itself as Australia’s home of Italian wine style, with the best-known varieties being Prosecco and Sangiovese. In the 1940s and ’50s many Italian families moved to the area to grow tobacco, but with the decline of the tobacco industry many began planting vines.
John Francis Brown evidently selected the name Brown Brothers in the hope that his brothers would join him in the venture. They didn’t, but the name remained and has been carried on by successive generations of the family. Brown Brothers have since acquired vineyards in other areas. allowing them to make a wide variety of wines. They claim to have produced Australia’s first noble rot sticky and Australia’s first Moscato. Their premium range is named Patricia, after the mother of the current generation of brothers.
The region as a whole retains an Italian influence. Among the impressive number of grape varieties grown there are many with Italian origins, including Prosecco and Sangiovese but also Nebbiolo, Fiano, Vermentino and even the rare Sagrantino.