Five generations of agriculture expertise has made Browns of Padthaway one of the few private family labels producing premium quality wines in this unique region. Their commitment has not gone unnoticed by some of the world’s top wine watchers. Decanter billed Browns of Padthaway one of the 21 Hottest Wineries to Watch in its 21st Century Edition.
Mention South Australian wines and people immediately think of the famous Coonawarra and Barossa Valley regions, another South Australian region however, is growing in prominence. Located south east of Adelaide and north of the Coonawarra, Padthaway is already inhabited by the big names in Australian wine, but the region is also an attractive prospect for private producers eager to develop unique regional wines. One producer in an excellent position to do just this is Browns of Padthaway. With an established vineyard, the family company has been known among wine circles as a producer of premium grapes supplying larger wine companies.
The Brown family has been established in the Padthaway region for over 40 years and along with other agricultural ventures planted their first grape vines 32 years ago. Nestled in amongst well known wine companies the likes of Fosters, Orlando Wyndham and BRL Hardys, Browns of Padthaway is a rare, privately owned Padthaway winery. In 1995 the Brown family began releasing its own estate labelled wines. Donald Brown, a fourth generation Yorke Peninsula farmer and his wife Glenda saw the potential of Padthaway and moved to there in 1959.
The Padthaway region has a cool climate and is characterised by its terra rossa soil and an abundance of very soft artesian water. The word Padthaway is aboriginal for good water. The Browns originally purchased 290 hectares of land, which had a small proven irrigation capability, and the land holding of the family is now 3000 hectares. According to Donald Brown they didn’t plant vines initially and were involved in small seed production, cereals and sheep. It didn’t take long, however, to realise that the soil and climate along with the irrigation presented ideal conditions for grape production. They were one of the original producers to establish a vineyard in the area.
Browns of Padthaway is very much a family organisation, with Donald and Glenda, their daughter Sue and her husband Michael Schreier, son Andrew and his wife Lisa and son David and his wife Caroline, all playing active roles in the business. This includes viticulture, vineyard management, sales, marketing and all facets of company management. The Brown’s wine exploits have involved supplying premium fruit to larger Australian wine companies as well as grape harvest contracting and grape transportation. The whole family agrees that producing their own wine label has been a dream for some time and they are very proud of what has been achieved with Browns of Padthaway wines.
Browns Of Padthaway have two vineyard sites that lie in the heart of the Padthaway region. The original vineyard was planted in 1970 and is 150 hectares in size and is located 12 km south of Padthaway at Keppoch. Varieties planted include Riesling, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Malbec, Sauvignon Blanc and Verdelho. The Vineyards are predominately planted on the famed terra rossa soil as well as some sandy loams over limestone. These soils are free draining and fertile. Although some vines are now over three decades old, Padthaway is a modern region with the latest planting, trellising and harvesting techniques in evidence. The Padthaway Valley Vineyard was developed in 1997. Situated 12 kilometres to the north of the existing vineyard, this vineyard is now approximately 170 ha in size and varieties planted comprise of Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Browns Of Padthaway is a HACCP endorsed food-safe grape producer. HACCP Australia Food Safety Accreditation provides a recognised endorsement of food safety excellence. This endorsement offers assurance to the industry a product’s suitability for use within a HACCP-based food safety programme. Supplementary rainfall is sourced from aquifers of the Artesian basin that lie beneath the Limestone Coast. The water is of a very high quality and is applied through Computer controlled drip irrigation. Moisture levels are carefully monitored with the use of neutron probes and gypsum blocks. This allows us to preserve our precious water resources and produce grapes of the optimum quality.
Realising the importance of value adding, the fifth generation are determined to carry on the family tradition and utilise the established vineyards, develop the profile of the wines and ensure the success of this label. The Browns have set high goals and realise that a dedicated and hard working team is essential to monitor the activities of the operation. To make the best wines possible, Browns of Padthaway have sought the expertise of stellar winemakers David O’Leary and Nick Walker.