Introducing this house of brands

November 23, 2021
By Ioni Doherty

Eleven years ago, when Ross Brown had convinced the board of Brown Brothers (as it was then known), that the winery needed to secure land from further afield, they visited Tasmania looking for cleared, cooler climate winemaking land.

At the time, Mr Brown said, “The Brown Brothers board has been carefully considering how global warming may impact our vineyards through drought and high temperatures and recently adopted a strategy to source grapes from cooler areas.”

Fortuitously for them, this coincided with Gunn’s Limited offloading many of its assets to relieve its debt, including its premium vineyards at Tamar Ridge Estates and its brands: Tamar Ridge, Pirie, Devil’s Corner.

Katherine Brown, Portfolio Manager of Brown Family Wine Group’s Premium Collection says, “Ross, who was Managing Director then, made it very clear to the Board that we needed to look outside Victoria following the Black Saturday bushfires of 2009 which affected the whole state.

“We went to Tasmania looking for clear land to grow grapes for Pinot Noir and Sparkling Wine production. It was absolutely by luck that Gunn’s was offloading their world class vineyards at Tamar Ridge. They had invested heavily in the vines, employing world class viticulturists and paying top dollar.”

Brown Brothers bought out all of Gunns Limited’s Tasmanian wine interests for $32.5 million in August 2010.

A decade on and Brown Family Wine Group has now launched its premium wine division. Ms Brown says, “Today we are a house of brands, rather than a branded house.”

Premium Collection by Brown Family Wine Group is a curated range of current, limited release and back vintage wines accessible to some of the best wine lists and progressive retail across the country.

The wine portfolio will include Tasmanian Pinot Noir producer Tamar Ridge, award winning sparkling house Pirie, select cool climate Yarra Valley wines from Innocent Bystander, highly acclaimed Resolution and Hazard ranges from Devil’s Corner and Brown Brothers iconic range of Patricia wines.  

BFWG will be showcasing the portfolio to on-premise and independent retail channels, with a passionate, experienced and knowledgeable new sales and marketing team enlisted to take the wines to venues right along the eastern seaboard of Australia.

With Ms Brown as Portfolio Manager, Brisbane based Scott Nagy, National On Premise & Growth Channel Manager, will head up the Key Accounts Team including Ben Hallett (pictured right) as Key Account Manager On-Premise in Sydney and Jannene Page (pictured below right) just recently appointed as account lead in Brisbane. The role in Victoria is to be filled shortly.

Shane Bulluss, General Manager of Sales for Brown Family Wine Group says, ‚ÄúThis is such an exciting time for our business as we expand our team to be able to service the unprecedented demand from our customers and consumers. The distribution of premium wine to our valued customers requires a very specific approach that is highly knowledgeable with a genuine hands-on approach to support customers individual business needs.”

Premium Collection is expected to drive +60% growth in its first year (FY22 vs FY21) and +50% growth in the year following, says Mr Nagy.

“We believe there is tremendous scope to accelerate growth, drive brand credibility and lift brand awareness of our premium wines with this new venture,” said Mr Nagy.

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