King Valley, VIC

A chat with Emma Brown King Valley VIC

By Sophia Collins

November 8, 2020 | 4 minute read

Brown Brothers
Brown Brothers

As the King Valley gears up for La Dolce Vita Festival in November, we thought it was the perfect time to chat to one of the locals, to find out what it’s like growing up in the spectacular wine region. Who better than a member of the Brown Brothers family? 

One of Australia’s First Families of Wine, the company was founded in 1889 by John Francis Brown, in Milawa. Since then, Brown Brothers have been instrumental in the rise of the King Valley as a premier wine region and it would be hard to meet an Aussie wine lover who doesn’t indulge in many of the 60 different drops available. 

At this year's Wines of the King Valley La Dolce Vita Festival, Brown Brothers will host live music by Caravana Sun, Parkville, A Whale Called Phoenix and Kim Imber, along with masterclasses, a dessert bar, a produce corner and sunny lawns for sipping wines paired with scrumptious food. 

Here, marketing manager Emma Brown lets us in on her favourite spots, in one of our favourite weekend getaway destinations. 

* At the time of writing, activities and places mentioned in this guide are at varying stages of recovery from COVID-19. Please check government and business websites for specific details on opening times and any restrictions before you travel.

King River (photo courtesy of Visit Wangaratta)
King River (photo courtesy of Visit Wangaratta)

What did you love about growing in the King Valley?

There’s really not much to not love about growing up in the King Valley. I was lucky to grow up in Oxley, just 5 minutes from Milawa. The King Valley offers a great blend of small country charm with just enough going on to keep you engaged and excited. 

As kids, my sisters, cousins and I spent a lot of time at the Brown Brothers winery, causing havoc wherever possible amongst the vines, exploring the paddocks and enjoying the North East Victorian summers. During school holidays we would offer our ‘assistance’ at the cellar door filling cheese and olive bowls and it was here that I grew a passion for where I was from. 

Every day people would visit our cellar door and share their travel stories, whether they were headed to Lake Hume, through to the mountains or simply camping on the banks of the King River. They would boast about their enjoyment of the area and it brought great pride to call the place home. 

Our family loves to fish so often we would spend weekends on the banks of Lake Hume or the Ovens river, flicking a fly in aspiration for a trout or simply setting up a tent and campfire and having a stay-cation in the great outdoors.

La Dolce Vita Festival
La Dolce Vita Festival

Where are your favourite places to visit in the area? 

The King Valley is all about great, local food paired with sensational local wines. This is what I love about this area. Whether it’s a long lunch at Christmont looking over the kangaroos jumping through the vines or a picnic on the banks of the river with produce from the Milawa Cheese Factory, you’re guaranteed to be spoiled with quality. I love taking a drive up ‘Prosecco Road’ and enjoying all the local produce the local producers, breweries, wineries, pubs have to offer.

Any hidden secrets/tips for people who are planning to visit?
Taking a hike up to Powers Lookout to take it all in. I love putting the valley into perspective.

What do you love about La Dolce Vita festival? 

La Dolce Vita is all about friends and family. There’s always something to do in the King Valley, the only issue is trying to do it all! I love this weekend every year as the vines are looking vibrant, everyone’s getting ready for the festive season. Sitting back in the sunshine sharing great company over the fruits of our labour (wine and food) is my ideal way to spend the November weekend.  

We think you should know

The Weekender's travel guides are independently written by real travellers. We do not receive any money from, or have a sponsorship arrangement with, any of the entities listed in or referred to in this article.