Friday, May 15, 2009

Winemaker Ken Brown (Ken Brown Wines)

Ken Brown (Byron Kent Brown) is recognized as one of Santa Barbara County’s pioneering winemakers and innovators. He was among the first vintners to realize the great promise for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in this cool-climate appellation in the mid-1970’s. He was also the first winemaker to introduce the Syrah grape, as well as Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc, to Santa Barbara County. Ken was one of a handful of winemakers to catapult Santa Barbara County into an established appellation.

Ken Brown began his career as the first winemaker at Zaca Mesa Winery in 1977. He followed up this opportunity by forming Byron Vineyard with his wife, Deborah, and business partners, and embarked on an extensive experimental vineyard program featuring various rootstocks, clones and planting densities and built a state-of-the art gravity winery in 1996.

Ken Brown launched his label in 2003 which reinvigorated his excitement about the vineyards and the wines that brought him to Santa Barbara County in the first place 30 years ago. Ken continues to craft the most subperb Pinot Noir's in Santa Barbara County by cultivating grapes from the premier vineyards in the region such as Clos Pepe Vineyard, Cargasacchi Vineyard, Sanford and Benedict Vineyard, and Bien Nacido Vineyard among others.

Although Ken doesn't operate a winery, he opens his doors to the public for free tastings of his entire selection of wines once a month. Once you taste Ken Brown Wines, you will become a believer and loyal follower of this ingenuous winemaker from Santa Barbara County. To discover Ken's handcrafted wines visit

Current Central Coast Uncorked Review: 2006 Duncan's Cuvée Pinot Noir

Current Offerings (as of 12/09):

2008 Santa Barbara County Rosie's Rose ($20)
A delightful Syrah rosé featuring fresh aromas of peach, plum and floral. Goes with any food and great with turkey.

2007 Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir ($32)
Blends fruit from 3 of Santa Barbara County's top Pinot Noir vineyards: Garey, Clos Pepe and Rancho La Viña. Lush fruit aromas on the nose and velvety richness on the palate. 378 cases made.

2007 Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir ($35)
A blend from two of Santa Maria Valley's finest vineyards—Nielson and Garey—that truly showcases the depth, complexity and unique expression of Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir.

2007 Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir ($38) -- TOP PICK
New Release. A classic expression of Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir. Richly extracted with a luxurious texture and silky finish.

2006 Cargassachi Vineyard Pinot Noir ($50)
This Pinot Noir from the remarkable Cargasacchi Vineyard is all about complexity. Silky, elegant and seamless. Only 240 cases made.

2004 Bien Nacido Vineyard Syrah ($35) -- TOP PICK
One of California’s most sought-after cool climate vineyards. Rich and extracted with aromas of blackberry, plum and black pepper. A mirror image of the fabulous 2003 vintage.
Only 227 cases made.

2005 "A" Cuvée Syrah ($30)
A blend from Bien Nacido and Watch Hill vineyards. A velvety and elegant wine, which makes it Deb's favorite Syrah to date. Only 272 cases made.

Ken Brown Wines
70 Industrial Way, Buellton (Terravant Wine Center)
(805) 688-4482
Wine tasting by appointment or during open houses


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