The 24-hour days haven’t yet started but the long, busy days of crush season are underway for winemaker John Patterson. Harvest is always hectic for winemakers but John has a unique level of frenzy that few in the industry can match. Not only does he oversee all the winemaking for Patterson Cellars, he provides crush equipment and grape-presses for nearly 30 other wineries. “It makes harvest more enjoyable to help out the other wineries,” says Patterson.
The crush facilities are located just behind the Patterson Cellars Warehouse District tasting room, fully visible for those who want to see what the vine to wine process looks like. Their equipment is rented by smaller wineries that aren’t yet able to invest in the machinery. Accessible wine making equipment is a critical component to burgeoning winemakers.
John says this year will be slightly less chaotic thanks to an investment in duplicate equipment. But even with twice as much equipment, the next two months will be comprised of 12-16 hour days, and for one full week, the crush facilities will be working around the clock.
Harvest kicked off just before the Labor Day weekend and John estimates it will take 70 days to go from first grapes to last grapes. This will be John’s 31st harvest season and he says while he has seen a few changes along the way – an ease in operations, new products to try, and many new faces – there has been consistency in high-level winemaking in Woodinville for at least the past decade.
John already has his plan in place to mark the end of another successful harvest season…“I’ll definitely sleep for a couple of days.”
Photo: Patterson Viognier Grapes