TUCKED AWAY in a nondescript corner of Woodinville’s Warehouse District is one of Washington’s most talented — and humble — winemakers.
John Patterson has quietly been crafting small lots of wine as Patterson Cellars since 2000, when he started the winery in Monroe.
This came after working for more than a dozen years at famed Quilceda Creek Vintners in Snohomish. His work there started as a harvest job and turned into a seasonal position that allowed him to work at the winery for six months, then head back to school for the other six months. During his time at Quilceda Creek, Patterson honed his winemaking abilities, which led him to launch his own brand.
In 2007, Patterson moved his operation to Woodinville’s Warehouse District and slowly began to gain admirers, thanks to the high quality of the wines he produced. This helped him gain access to some of the Columbia Valley’s top vineyards, including Boushey and Willard in the Yakima Valley, Quintessence and Red Heaven on Red Mountain and Seven Hills in the Walla Walla Valley.
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Patterson changes his lineup of wines a bit each year, but some of his best efforts include cabernet sauvignon, syrah, chardonnay and a red blend called BDX. He also crafts dessert and sparkling wines, primarily for his wine-club members.
One of his biggest contributions to the local wine industry, however, is a service he offers to more than 20 other Woodinville wineries during harvest. In the alley behind his winery, Patterson stations crush equipment and wine-grape presses that he provides to other producers. These are expensive necessities, often costing tens of thousands of dollars — a steep price for a small winery struggling to start up.
In addition to providing a valuable service, Patterson also receives a steady revenue flow throughout the year.
Though Patterson already has a strong presence in the Warehouse District, he has now opened a second tasting room across town in the Hollywood District, not far from Chateau Ste. Michelle. At first, Patterson was concerned his new tasting room would siphon off customers he already had, but he’s found he can significantly increase the number of wine lovers he reaches, with sales up nearly 40 percent as a result.
Like so many wineries, Patterson is deeply invested in the Woodinville wine scene, and he is reaping the benefits while producing some of our region’s best wines.
Andy Perdue is editor and publisher of Great Northwest Wine, a news and information company. Learn more about wine at www.greatnorthwestwine.com.