Ultimate Winery Experiences Australia

Meet the characters: Katherine Brown, Brown Brothers

Katherine Brown has something many winemakers can only dream about, a micro lab known as the Kindergarten winery. It’s kitted out with micro presses, miniature tanks and all the winemaking equipment usually needed - only smaller.

“It allows us to work on new creations in a micro way,” she says. “If an experiment works, and we produce a wine we think is going to be a great success, we can turn it around and upscale it.”

Katherine is the first female winemaker in more than 130 years of the Brown Brothers family business. She grew up five kilometres from the King Valley winery, nearly three hours’ drive north-east of Melbourne. She and her young family now live
in her grandparent’s renovated homestead; grandfather John was also a winemaker. Katherine’s grandmother Patricia was known as the “non-official CEO”, and in her memory, the winery’s flagship wines and its restaurant have been named after her.

Katherine has been keen on winemaking since her dad brought grapes and yeast home to make DIY creations with. “I thought they were normal childhood games,” she says. In 2020, the fourth-generation Brown has been playing with four different
varieties that are so new, they don’t even have names. “There’s one called M11 that’s got a Pinot Grigio character, but with the acid kick of a Riesling,” she says.

Visitors who join the Gourmet Discovery ‘winemaker for a day’ experience get to peek into the Kindergarten winery where they can taste experimental drops, then lose themselves in the family cellar where museum vintages are stored. “It’s nice to get an insight into the day-to-day,” says Katherine. “Some people know little about wine - other than that they like drinking it - but here, they can walk away with a next-level understanding.”

It's easy to see why Katherine believes she has the best job in the world.

“We’re at the foothills of the Victorian Alps and one of my favourite things about vintage is watching the most amazing sunsets from the top of the fermenters. It’s at those moments you realise you’ve got best job in the world.”