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Meet the Browns: Napa’s First and Only Black Owned Winery

This two-generation family is taking it from the vine to the bottle

@brownestate Instagram
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Calling all wine lovers.  Brown Estate Vineyards is the first and only Black-owned estate winery in California’s Napa Valley, and is best known as one of that region’s most well-regarded zinfandel producers receiving a score of 91 points by Wine Spectator.

@brownestate Instagram

In addition to zinfandel, Brown Estate produces cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, and petite sirah.

@brownestate facebook

This two-generation culmination is an investment made by parents Bassett Brown (from Jamaica) and Marcela Brown (from Panama) back in 1980. They acquired 450 acres in the Chiles Valley AVA of the Napa Valley after being informed by local family friends that the property was for sale.

Bassett and Marcela Brown via Brownestate Facebook

Abandoned for some ten years prior, the land and its two structures – an 1859 stone and redwood barn and an 1885 Queen Anne Victorian home – were derelict. The senior Browns cut roads and brought in plumbing and electricity, ultimately earning an award from the Napa County Historical Society for their restoration of the residence structure.

 

The Brown Estate

They planted zinfandel vines, selling them to established winemakers (including Mike Grgich of Grgich Hills Estate) – for more than ten years.

Founded in 1995 by siblings Deneen, David & Coral Brown, Brown Estate produced its first Napa Valley zinfandel in 1996 and decided to move the winemaking in-house.

As of 2016 the Brown’s have bottled their 20th vintage and in April of this year they debuted their Brown Downtown location on the re-emerging First Street corridor in the heart of downtown Napa.

“It’s natural for the second generation to take it from vine to bottle,” Deneen tells 7×7 about the legacy left by her parents.

Check out the support the Brown’s have received.  Here chef Marcus Samuelsson with the Brown Estate wine hosting a tasting at his Red Rooster restaurant in Harlem.

#flashbackfriday feels @ our friend Herb Karlitz {L} with Chef Marcus Samuelsson, Michael Inserra & David O'Brien lovin' on our single vineyard Zins at a recent Ernst & Young dinner at Red Rooster… 🙌🏾🍷🌟 #happyfriday #brownzin ••• #Repost @karlitz_co: "It's a @brownestate single vineyard #zin tasting at @roosterharlem with @marcuscooks and #ernstandyoung #pioneerwine #delicious #harlem #redrooster"

A post shared by Brown Estate 🍇→🍷 (@brownestate) on

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Here at Cookie Johnson’s book signing party with Tina Knowles.

Support from the Miami Heat.

Some of the Brown’s wine club members.

We know what we will be sipping for the holidays!

The Brown Estate established themselves as a winery to watch in the arena of Napa Valley zinfandel. Simultaneously, in the January 31, 2000 issue of the Wine Spectator, the 1997 Brown Estate zinfandel received a score of 91 points.

In Fall 2010, the Brown family celebrated their 30th year in the Napa Valley, and Brown Estate’s 15th crush. The family posted the following message on their Website to commemorate these occasions:

“This year we celebrate our thirtieth year in the Napa Valley, and Brown Estate’s fifteenth crush. We thank all of you, with all of our hearts, for your continued enjoyment of our wines and your truly stupendous support of our once little endeavor. Each time you open and share a bottle of Brown Estate, you wrap your arms around us. It is an embrace that we cherish, a gesture that gives meaning to all of the passion and commitment we put into what we do. Thank you for making us a part of your lives, and for being a part of ours. Now onward & upward! The sky’s the limit!”

Let us know if you have tried this delicious wine. You can purchase here or visit them here:

Brown Downtown Napa
11-7 daily by appointment, walk-ins subject to availability
1005 Coombs Street (NW corner of First Street, 2nd Floor), Napa CA

Brown Estate Winery
Hours: 11-2 Th-Su, strictly by appointment
3233 Sage Canyon Road, St. Helena CA

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