Having grown up part of the Brown Brothers family, All Saints Estate‘s Sales and Marketing Director, Angela Brown has been in the industry all her life. Starting from a very young age helping the family in Cellar Door on busy weekends she used to fill the cheese and olive bowls, sell walnuts and help her mum and auntie with their winery catering business.
When, why and how did you first enter the wine industry?
My professional career took a turn when my father Peter Brown died unexpectedly in 2005. I was running my own Graphic Design business in Melbourne and studying Wine Marketing at Adelaide University via correspondence at the time and when Dad died I decided to work full time in the business with my siblings, Eliza and Nick. I think I would have ended up working in the business, it just happened a bit sooner than planned.
Where has your career taken you so far?
I studied Graphic Design at Monash University after I left school. After I graduated I worked in Advertising as a Finished Artist and Art Director for six years with some large agencies including Singleton, Ogilvy & Mather, Foote Cone & Belding and M&C Saatchi before starting my own business in 2002.
I then started at All Saints Estate & St Leonards Vineyard in 2005 looking after export which took me travelling a lot around the USA selling a wine my father had just launched. It was a fantastic experience. I have now worked with the business for 12 years and I am the Sales and Marketing Director. I was accepted into the Wine Australia Future Leaders Program in 2015 which was a fabulous experience.
You are Sales and Marketing Director at All Saints Estate. Can you tell us the story of why, when and how this happened?
With my creative background I have worked across quite a few areas in the business. It is definitely handy to have someone on the team who can create marketing collateral from start to finish however I am now concentrating more on driving the direction of the business through sales and marketing.
What is the philosophy behind All Saints Estate?
All Saints Estate is a very diverse business. We not only make wine but also have a Cellar Door, the one hat Terrace Restaurant and also the Indigo Food Co providore on site. We also deliver over 60 weddings and events each year and have a large Wine Club (one of Australia’s largest and most established family owned clubs). Our philosophy across all aspects of our business is to provide memorable experiences with exceptional quality and customer service.
What grape varieties do you make wine from at All Saints Estate? And where are they sourced from?
We make a large range of varieties at All Saints Estate including Marsanne, Chardonnay, Riesling, Semillon, Chenin Blanc, Cabernet Franc, Grenache, Mourvedre, Merlot, Shiraz, Durif, Cabernet Sauvignon, Muscat and Muscadelle. These are all sourced from our vineyards at All Saints Estate, St Leonards Vineyard and a new vineyard in Wahgunyah called The Carter Vineyard.
What are your personal favourites from those you produce, and why?
This will sound like a typical marketer’s answer but I find it really hard to pick my personal favourites. There really is a right time for every variety. It depends on the food, the location, the weather and the company!
Within the business – what’s a typical day like for you?
I am based in our Melbourne office and a typical day for me starts early with a visit to the gym to get me motivated. After I leave home I drop my two boys off at school and drive to the office. We have a mountain of emails every day so I start by making a to do list for the week or day and then work through the emails to prioritise. I might then have a meeting on the phone with my siblings that we do at least weekly. This is in amongst meetings with our suppliers, distributor and customers. There’s never a dull moment!
How does your overseas experience translate to your day to day work?
My overseas experience selling wine, in particular America, is really valuable. It gave me a great understanding for what distributors need in the relationship and how to capture their attention in a short period of time.
What is your absolute favourite wine and food pairing? And what should we keep in mind when matching food and wine?
I don’t think we should over complicate food and wine matching. It’s often the simple dishes that work perfectly – like oysters and a sparkling brut but my absolute favourite food and wine pairing would have to be Asian inspired dishes with Chenin Blanc. The spiciness of most Asian dishes is absolutely perfect with the slight residual sweetness in our Chenin Blanc. My husband and I enjoy discovering new restaurants and we are so spoilt for choice in Melbourne.
As a woman working in the wine industry, have you faced any particular challenges where your gender has ever been an issue?
I haven’t faced any particular challenges in the wine industry where my gender has been an issue. However, I have noticed age was an issue. When my father died and my siblings and I took over the ownership of All Saints Estate many people thought we were too young (25, 29 and 31yo) to be successful. The negativity we experienced only made us stronger and more determined to do our best and be successful.
In your experience, do women think about or talk about wine differently than blokes do?
I think women are generally just not as outspoken or confident as men when talking about wine. They don’t think differently but instead don’t communicate it in the same way.
What’s your number one tip for tasting wine?
Always drink water between each taste, whether you’re drinking or spitting your tastes this would have to be my number one tip for pulling up fresh the next day.
If there was one thing you could tell the sisterhood of wine-lovers out there, what would it be?
Relax and enjoy wine. It shouldn’t be intimidating. Wine is subjective so if you don’t like a wine that someone else loves, don’t worry, there’ll be another variety or style you’ll enjoy – that’s why wine is so great!