heritageJohn Lewis Brown

Roots across the Channel

The history of BROWN goes back almost one thousand years, with traces of vines here as early as the 12th century. Two centuries later, during the Hundred Years’ War between the Kingdoms of England (the Plantagenets) and France, Aquitaine and its vineyards were to remain in English hands for quite some time.

Château Brown owes its name to a rich Scottish wine trader, John Lewis Brown, who settled in Bordeaux shortly after the Revolution, in 1795. The former Château Barrière officially took the name Château Brown at the end of the 18th century.

In addition to his name, this wine and art enthusiast passed on his passion for the vine and for painting to his grandson, animal painter John Lewis Brown (1829-1890): his works from the 19th century – especially hunting scenes – can be found today in the Galerie Hermès, Musée Drouot and Tate London… Bordeaux thus saw the emergence of a precursor of Impressionism and it is even said that the Hermès brand drew inspiration from his paintings for the designs of some of its famous silk scarves…

J.L. Brown was also behind the construction of Château Cantenac-Brown (Margaux) and was known for his luxurious lifestyle and countless receptions organised in the Médoc.

 

Le Hussard JL BROWN

“Le Hussard” by JL Brown, in Libourne Fine Arts Museum

 

A great fallen on hard times

etiquette 1920

Label of BROWN 1er cru, in 1920

In 1884, at the Amsterdam Universal Exhibition, Château Brown won a gold medal alongside Château Mouton, Château Leoville-Poyferré, Château Pontet Canet… Then, through the decades and successive owners, the estate had moments of glory and of oblivion through to the 1930s.

The Bonnel family bought the château in 1938, shortly before the Second World War, and was to run it for three generations.

The winegrowers of the Graves drew up a classification in 1953 (and then again in 1959) distinguishing 16 red and white Crus Classés. At that time, the vineyard of Château Brown did not fulfil the classification requirements and therefore could not be listed.

 

litographie annees 1980

Lithograph of the Château in the 1980s

 

Renaissance of the estate