The very first wine I bought for my cellar was a 1998 Peter Lehmann Barossa Shiraz. I grew up on Barossa Shiraz (once of legal age of course...) so it’s no surprise this was the drop that ignited my wine journey.
It was 2001 and I was working at a fine wine shop while studying at uni. 1998 vintage wines were all the rage and the bottle of Peter Lehmann was a steal at $20. The three bottles I bought soaked up a lot of my beer budget.
But as that budget gradually became smaller and my wine budget larger, my desire to share my passion for wine and educate others drove me to host wine events, dinners, tastings and the odd hens party. I later found myself learning about wine production and taking ‘business trips’ to explore some of the most famous regions around Australia.
I saw an opportunity to bring great, unknown wines into focusand by 2013 I started my own brand doing just that. Brown Paper Wine began as a range of honest, good drinking wine and our name was inspired by a much simpler time when communities and relationships were central to our way of life.
Times where we’d visit our trusted local wine merchant, refill our bottle from the ‘barrel of the day’ and walk away with a really good wine. You never knew what wine you were going to get, but the answer was always stamped on the brown paper tag on the neck of the bottle.
By Richard Powell
That is why we started the Brown Paper Wine subscription, so we could surprise our members with bloody good drinking wines each month.
The power of community
Inspired by the past, Brown Paper Wine is shaping the way people enjoy wine into the future. We’re about more than a glass of wine, we’re building a community that helps people come together more often, over everyday moments with good wine that’s accessible, affordable, and enjoyable.
The opportunity to create and share stories, like long lunches at the homes of winemakers in the Barossa Valley, exclusive tastings at winery vaults at 2am and the not so exclusive sore heads that come with it, is one of the great pleasures of life.
So when I first started Brown Paper Wine, I made a promise that we would share our stories and tell the tales of the people and practices behind our wines, and in return, we ask that our community enjoys every glass and shares a new story with every bottle.
Sustainable wine practices
It’s one thing to make great wine now, but it’s just as important to be able to make great wine into the future. Sustainable winemaking and being a good community member is an important part of our outlook at Brown Paper Wine.
Not only do we take care to work with winemakers who have a focus on sustainable agriculture, but we look at other practices too, such as pest control (we’d rather the kangaroos in the vineyard weren’t shot, thanks), use of lightweight bottles and community engagement (we donate to causes such as refugee support groups, mental health charities and small business networking alliances, and we encourage our winemakers to do the same).
For our winemakers, it’s not just their winemaking skills that make them the best in the business, it’s their dedication to best practice which enables them to care for the earth and be sustainable so that great wine can be made for many years to come.
Understanding wine now and in the future
One of the things I enjoy most about being part of the Brown Paper Wine community is when you see the sparkle in new members’ eyes as they realise they’ve joined something bigger than your typical club.
I see this often when I deliver new members their first wine delivery and give them a 15-minute personalised wine testing to help them better understand and appreciate the wine they are drinking.
Our goal is to empower our community to be as passionate about wine as we are, so we offer masterclasses catered to every kind of wine drinker.
For example, if you love the taste of wine but you’re keen to learn more about it then check out our signature masterclass. It’ll also help you navigate those restaurant wine lists which can be a minefield.
Or, if you know your lifted citrus from honey and marmalade notes, then our six-week wine Guru immersion course would be perfect to develop your skills. Both courses focus on giving you all the tools you need to ensure you have a fruitful future in wine and also to promote mindful drinking to ensure wine production in Australia remains sustainable.
Finally, we know how important good experiences are in creating stories that live on for a lifetime so every month we host a series of intimate Supper Clubs. This is where I share my favourite wines with a handful of our community. You won’t leave hungry, thirsty or bored, but you will leave with a new story or two.
Images: Helena Dolby