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Brown Estate Opens Downtown Tasting Room

by  CN Team on August 16, 2017
Brown Estate Opens Downtown Tasting Room

 "It's downtown, so it's a different experience from driving up the winding hills to the winery," says Kwong, the San Francisco design darling known for her residential interiors with a fashionable sensibility. The designer says she fell in love with the tasting room space: The second-floor industrial interior—housed in the old Napa Valley Register building, which suffered some damage in the 2014 earthquake—has high ceilings, exposed brick walls, and steel beams.

Recognizing those cool loft vibes from her days working in New York, Kwong worked with the architectural bones she'd been given. Location-appropriate cold-rolled steel and fluted glass dividers were added throughout to provide some intimacy in the open space, and the original black shutters were saved, lending a moody ambiance. Upon entering, you might feel like you're dropping into a speakeasy of yore, except that every detail was conceived for coziness—the Brown family wants you to feel at home.

Now helmed by three siblings—sisters Deneen and Coral Brown and their winemaker brother David—Brown Estates is the two-generation culmination of an investment made by parents Bassett and Marcela Brown back in 1980. The couple purchased the tract of land in the eastern hills of Napa Valley and planted zinfandel vines, the fruit of which they sold off to winemakers. In 1996, their kids began to move the winemaking in-house. "It's natural for the second generation to take it from wine to bottle," Deneen explains, talking passionately about the legacy left by her parents. Today, Brown is the only black-owned estate winery in the Napa Valley—a fact of which the family is both proud of and also nonchalant. The focus here is on the family.

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