' Ken Brown - Our Team

Our Team

Ken Brown
Owner/Senior Winemaker

Ken Brown (Byron Kent Brown) is recognized as one of Santa Barbara County’s pioneering winemakers and innovators, making his mark on the region as the founding winemaker at Zaca Mesa Winery, owner and winemaker of Byron Vineyard & Winery, and owner and winemaker of Ken Brown Wines. He was among the first vintners to realize the tremendous promise for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in this cool-climate appellation beginning in the mid 1970s. He was also the first winemaker to introduce the Syrah grape, as well as Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc, to Santa Barbara County. Continue reading about Ken here.

Ben Van Antwerp

Ben grew up in the Midwest and made his way to California in 2012. He landed a job at Clos Pepe Winery and met Ken Brown while helping to hone Ken’s rows of Pinot Noir prior to harvest. Since that time, he has traveled extensively, working harvest and production in New Zealand, France, Australia, and Sonoma, always returning to beautiful Santa Barbara County. Ben settled in with Ken Brown Wines in 2018 and is delighted to benefit from the tutelage received working alongside one of California’s pioneering winemakers. In 2021, Ben earned the WSET (Wine & Spirit Education Trust) Diploma in Wines, and is currently enrolled in the prestigious Masters of Wine Programme. In his limited spare time, Ben enjoys hiking, cooking, and riding his motorcycle.

John Bailey
DTC Manager

John fell in love with the world of wine after graduating from UC Santa Barbara in 2000. Living on the Central Coast offered a gateway into the amazing wines of Santa Barbara County. His professional journey began over 15 years ago as the Assistant Manager at the Curtis Winery. He later moved on to run the tasting room at Sanford Winery & Vineyards in the Sta. Rita Hills. In 2014 he joined the Ken Brown team as Tasting Room and Wine Club Manager, and was promoted to DTC (Direct to Consumer) Manager in 2023. Though he naturally has a deep love for Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, John enjoys wines from all over California and around the globe. He has visited famous wine regions in France, Italy, Australia and New Zealand, and continues to explore the amazing world of wine.

Amber Hogan
Tasting Room Lead

Amber has been with the Ken Brown Team for almost a decade. She has a great affinity for wine and food and has built many special relationships with Ken Brown supporters. When she’s not pouring wine at the tasting room, checking out vineyards or working on the production of her own wine brand, you can find her hiking the local trails or enjoying a day at the beach with family. She has learned a lot working with Ken and loves to expand her knowledge each harvest. Born and raised in Santa Barbara, she always knew she wanted to grow her roots here and work with plants and nature somehow. It wasn’t until she tasted her first Pinot Noir (coincidentally a 2007 Ken Brown Clos Pepe Pinot Noir) that really got her interested in wine. She decided then that she had to be involved with this industry and has never looked back.