Brown Estate Vineyards is the first and only Black-owned estate winery in California’s Napa Valley, and is best known as one of the region’s most well-regarded zinfandel producers.
In 1980, parents Bassett Brown and Marcela Abrahams Brown acquired 450 acres in the Chiles Valley AVA of the Napa Valley. 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, which 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 aging residence.
In 1985 the Browns planted their first vineyard on the property, approximately nine acres of zinfandel. The Chiles Valley microclimate, characterized by extreme temperature shifts throughout the course of each day, proved perfectly suited to cultivating zinfandel grapes and the Brown family's fruit soon gained tremendous popularity among zinfandel producers with whom they sold their fruit.
In the mid-1990's, as a result of rising demand for their fruit, siblings Deneen and David Brown, then both residing on the vineyard property, made the decision to produce wine under their own label. Because they had no winery facility on site, they secured a custom crush contract with Rombauer Vineyards in Saint Helena, and for six years they produced their wines at the Rombauer facility. On January 29, 2000, Brown Estate debuted their first two vintages of Napa Valley Zinfandel, 1996 and 1997, which were very well received by the trade and public alike, thereby establishing Brown Estate as a winery to watch in the arena of Napa Valley zinfandel.
❝ The business of operating an estate winery, making our wines from grapes we grow on our own land, relies heavily upon forces beyond our control. Mother Nature is a brilliant but fickle business partner, and our increasingly burdened planet a delicate resource from which we derive our livelihood. As we move through Brown Estate's third decade, these immutable realities continue to demand and inspire our passion, humility, and gratitude.❞
~Deneen, David and Coral of Brown Estate