Hi, I’m Nathan Brown, the face behind Linear Wines. It all started with just two small batch wines with only a couple of tonnes of fruit in 2018. In the lead up to this, I have been intertwined in the wine industry for the past 12 years as a restauranteur. Here, I was pouring, tasting and discovering the vast array of flavours and textures that had been lovingly squeezed into a bottle. In early 2017 I took a step away from the restaurant scene after selling ‘Pulp Kitchen’ in Ainslie. It was time for a new adventure and I was in the fortunate position of having a good relationship with the Canberra District wineries, having served a lot of their wines in my restaurants. I spoke with some of the local wine makers and got a position as a vintage hand for the 2017 vintage at Collector Wines.
Not really sure what to expect, in late February I rolled up to the winery site in Murrumbateman. Down a dusty gravel road at the end of a long driveway, stood a shed with a ramble of stainless steel tanks, wooden barrels hand stacked three high on long timbers, hoses, buckets, some equipment I have never laid eyes on before and few shiny things in the lab.
It was a big change for me and the freedom of working outside was amazing! Hot summer days, trips rummaging around vineyards and pulling berries from the vines for a quick taste to see where the fruit was up to. It was a side of wine I had never seen before and made me realise it had been quite naive of me to think this wine just ended up in the bottle.
The hustle of getting a grape to the perfect point to pick was really interesting. Pruning the vines correctly, watering it right, ensuring correct nutrients to look after the plants, netting so the birds don’t take the crop and watching the weather to apply sprays at the right time. I loved the realisation that all the sites have their own intriguing heartbeat.
From here the rest of the vintage was a bit of a blur of long days, information overload of how much work goes into making a great wine, trucks rolling in, forklift zipping around, weigh this, fruit here, grapes there, add this, plunge that, cover this, cooling on here, press this, top that and the list goes on. So I guess at this point you could say I was hooked. 2017 vintage turned into full time work at Collector Wines and in 2018 I commenced studying Bachelor of Wine Science at Charles Sturt University.
After completing the 2017, 2018, 2019 then the miss of a vintage of 2020 due to the bushfires that swept through most of the east coast of Australia, I finished up at Collector wines. For 2021 vintage, with a few years under my belt but a thirst of knowledge to still gather I have headed out to continue the Linear Wines journey.
The future for Linear Wines will focus on continuing to develop my understanding of how this natural fruit can be gently worked to produce such a fascinating product. I will continue to take small interesting parcels of fruit from vineyards I tend to and from growers I collaborate with from around the Canberra District, Hilltops, Gundagai and Tumbarumba to create hand worked, well balanced and intriguing wines.