Katherine Brown wanted to be a winemaker since she was a kid, and it if wasn’t for her high school careers counsellor, she may very well have become one a lot sooner. On her path to be a winemaker at Brown Brothers, Katherine took a bit of a detour, and along the way has picked up a diverse range of skills and experiences that make her one of the most valuable assets in the Brown family business.
Fresh out of a business and marketing degree, Katherine jumped into the workforce at a small coffee roaster in Melbourne. What resonated with her were the similarities between making wine and roasting coffee - taste, aroma, colour and flavour profiles.
After her caffeine fix, Katherine worked for a wine broker, selling some pretty incredible wines into large corporates. The time spent here took her experience and knowledge of the broader wine industry to the next level - and brought her focus back fairly and squarely on the wine side of things. With the brokering industry slowing and with wine on her mind, where else do you go, but to France? A vintage in Champagne and Bordeaux was just the catalyst to take Katherine to the next stage of her career.
Fresh from her travels and work in France, and with wine coursing through her veins, Katherine jumped head first into a range of roles at Brown Brothers, each with their own valuable experiences and insights. After immersing herself in sales, PR, marketing and brand ambassador roles, Katherine completed a Masters in Wine Business and, with great relief a Masters in Viticulture and Oenology.
Now as winemaker at Brown Brothers, Katherine is making waves in the industry winning awards and most recently being listing in the Top 50 Young Guns of Wine. Katherine wouldn’t change her journey, and believes the family's view to encourage their children to work outside the business, pushing their knowledge of the industry and beyond, has been the backbone to success of the business and the development of her career.
Katherine kindly shares more about her beloved Brown Brothers and her love of the King Valley.
Why do you think your great grandfather chose to plant his vineyard in the King Valley in 1885?
Along with the variable soils and the ideal climatic conditions, I would say the reliable water source (aquifer) that sits beneath the property. You can still see the original windmill as your drive by the property, which plays a vital role in the vineyard today, especially in Spring when frost is still a threat to the grapes. In the early hours of the morning, the windmill pulls up the water that is sprayed lightly over the vineyard, which stops the frost dead in its tracks.
What is your favourite wine to sip on over Spring?
The gardens around the winery, cellar door and restaurant are particularly beautiful in Spring...
What’s your favourite spot around the grounds at Brown Brothers Epicurean Centre?
What is your favourite thing to do on the King Valley around Spring?
Grabbing a bike from cellar door and taking a spin around the region. Cheese, meats, olives, bread - you don’t have to go to far to taste the exceptional produce of the area. I also love getting down to the King River in early Spring. With the winter snow melting on the mountains the river is running full, most definitely the perfect time to throw a line in. Along with the lush green vegetation and the quite location, it’s pretty hard to beat.
Map it out for me
Hungry for more?
With Summer in full swing, let’s open up our minds, and palates, to these interesting beer styles.
These spas make the most of their location, offering specifically tailored, seasonal food and wines.
Three years on, Rachel Reed and Hamish Nugent’s baby has grown!
For those loving the summer vibes, a little preview of some High Country favourites with outdoor dining!