For Andrew Browne, owner of Browne Family Vineyards and CEO of Precept Wine, success is rooted in the people you surround yourself with. “The energy and enthusiasm come down to your team and your people,” he says.
Browne was inspired to create his namesake winery by the bravery of his grandfather, William Bitner Browne, who fought in WWII and brought home a love of wine with him. “He was my hero,” Browne says. “Bigger than life and that feeling never diminished even after he died in 2002. He taught me so much about values, dedication and drive.”
Not everyone knows just what they want to do professionally as a young adult but, at his first winery job in his early 20s, Browne was hooked right away. “I knew I loved wine the first time I visited our winemaker, Don Van Staaveren at Chateau St. Jean in 1994,” he recalls of the Sonoma winery. “He made a wine called Cinq Cepages that blew my mind.” Today, however, Browne’s favorite wine is Cabernet Sauvignon from Washington State, the wine he dedicated to his grandfather and kicked off Browne Family Vineyards production in 2005.
Over the years Browne Family Vineyards has grown handsomely and today is one of the many brands that fall under the umbrella of Precept Wine. Browne describes the company like an eight-man rowing boat, to move smoothly it’s important everyone is synchronized. Today Precept is the Northwest’s largest privately-owned wine company and it oversees 25 individual wine brands. “It’s less about the wine and the brands than it is about the people,” he says. From marketing and hospitality, to production and customer relationships, he says the company “should be called Alchemy Wines because we want 1+1 to equal more than two.”
While Precept Wines is based in Seattle and Browne just opened its second tasting room location in the city’s Pioneer Square neighborhood, but the winery itself was born on the vineyard in Walla Walla, Washington. That vineyard is open to guests who want to see where it all started. For Browne the best part of owning his own site is control of the grapes year-round, from start to finish.
It’s safe to say Browne is a busy guy, running two companies at once, but he finds time to do things he loves. “I’m a book nerd,” he admits. “Crazy about books and reading.” The literary fan has created two successful companies, with Precept producing just under 2 million cases in 2017. But beyond the hubbub of fast paced business, his philosophy has remained the same. “Our goals at Browne are to aspire every day to meet [my grandfather’s] standard of excellence.”