"FOURTH-GENERATION siblings, Eliza, Angela and Nicholas Brown are celebrating 150 years of winemaking at All Saints Estate this week.

Established in 1864 at Wahgunyah, near Rutherglen in the state’s northeast, All Saints was one of Australia’s first wineries.

The original Scottish owners, George Sutherland Smith and John Banks, settled in the area on the banks of the Murray, where they took up 40.5ha and began growing vines.

The All Saints castle — ­designed to look like the ­Castle of Mey in Scotland — was built soon after over original buildings that housed maturing wine.

All Saints went on to win the first gold medal for Australian winemaking at the London International Exhibition.

More recently it won the Fortified Wine Trophy at the 2013 International Wine & Spirit Competition, and gold and ­silver medals at last year’s Decanter World Wine Awards.

The Brown family bought All Saints Estate in 1992 after a bank reclaimed it from the ­Sutherland Smith family.

The children inherited the winery from their father Peter Brown, who died in a motor­cycle accident in 2005.

Peter was one of the original “Brown Brothers” from the well-known winemaking dynasty established by his grandfather John Francis Brown in 1889.

The siblings own shares in Brown Brothers with their ­uncles.

All Saints Wine was always a special place for Peter’s father, John C Brown Jr.

“Our grandfather always saw this area as the jewel of the Victorian wine industry,” Eliza said.

“He always had great foresight. He used to come over here by horse and cart and sell wine.

“We were always looking for opportunities to spread our risk, so when this came up for sale we knew it was the place.”

These days, Eliza is chief executive, Angela is online communications manager and Nicholas is vineyard and winery manager.

“We all fell into our roles depending on what our strengths were,” Eliza said.

“My brother, sister and I have an extraordinary working relationship. No one will love you or forgive you like your family. And we enjoy drinking fine wine, which keeps the union strong.”

The siblings also own and run the nearby St Leonards Vineyard at Wahgunyah.

“Our family has been making wine since 1889 so we’ve had a bit of practice,” Eliza said. “We have wine in our blood.”

All Saints Estate has a one-hat restaurant called Terrace, run by head chef Simon Arkless, its own Indigo Cheese Company which sells gourmet food and gifts, and the historic All Saints Estate cellars.

When the Brown family took over the winery it had a huge amount of fortified wine in the cellars dating back more than 100 years.

“We’re still finding more of it around the place,” Eliza said. “We sell the 100-year-old muscat for $1000 a bottle.”

About 60 per cent of the winery’s sales are through its wine club. “We’ve had some members for more than 25 years,” Eliza said. “It’s a loyal following.”

About 10-15 per cent of the wine is exported — to places like the UK, US, China, Canada and Singapore.

“We see that expanding and would like to grow it another 10 per cent over the next 10 years,” Eliza said.

The winery hosts 60-70 ­weddings a year and the music festival A Day On The Green.

It also hosts events during the Taste of Rutherglen and Rutherglen Winery Walkabout.

The winery produces 52 wines — 45 table wines, some fortifieds and special ­releases exclusive to the wine club.

The Browns have released a new range to commemorate the winery’s 150th anniversary.

The Antique Label range is made up of the 2010 old vine shiraz and 2013 grenache shiraz mourvèdre.

The old vine shiraz is hand-picked from shiraz vines planted in 1920, fermented in the original wax-lined vats and pressed in an 1883 wooden basket press — an ode to the early years of All Saints Estate.

The main sesquicentennial celebrations will be this weekend, with a black-tie dinner and dance for the Australian wine industry and Brown family friends."

Alex Sampson, The Weekly Times, 29 April 2014

To view the full article click here