Patricia Green Cellars is located in the Ribbon Ridge Appellation of the Willamette Valley on a 52 acre estate purchased in 2000 by Patty Green and Jim Anderson. The winery, and thus the two friends and business partners, are noted for producing a tremendously broad selection of vineyard designated Pinot Noirs from several vineyards representing some of the better sites in the Willamette Valley with a particular emphasis over the years on Ribbon Ridge, Dundee Hills and the Chehalem Mountain appellations.
At a larger level the philosophy of the winery is fairly simple:
Do what needs to be done.
There are certain approaches and techniques that will obviously be applied, however the intensity of those actions is fluid. That fluid nature would extend to nearly every aspect of the winemaking. Ultimately things are done as simply as is possible. The 14th century friar William of Ockham stated that
"one should not increase, beyond what is necessary, the number of entities required to explain anything." This is the physics theory known as Occam's Razor. It applies to winemaking though, too. With over 50 combined years worth of winemaking experience the two partners are quite possibly the longest-partnered winemaking duo in Oregon and they have come to realize that the hardest thing to do is to do the simplest things.
Of course to be a truly successful winery one must start with very strong raw materials. Over the years an ever-increasingly strong set of vineyards has made up the core of the winery’s Pinot Noir bottlings. The crowning jewel initially was landing what is the Estate Vineyard with the purchase of the property back in 2000. At this juncture Patricia Green Cellars has now assembled what is certainly one of the strongest collection of well-farmed, high-quality sites with great reputations in the entire state.
Patricia Green Cellars is a unique winery because of the collaborative approach to running the business from nearly all perspectives, a dedication to particular sites being able to produced uniquely special Pinot Noirs and a willingness to continually evolve, adapt and grow as a winery, winemakers and winery owners.
Meet the Founders
In her loving memory: 1955-2017
Patty was clearly one of the most exceptionally gifted and intuitive winemakers in Oregon, which she never received tons of credit for being so. Part of that is certainly because she never sought that stuff out and we probably went out of our way to avoid anything vaguely resembling publicity. What she had and certainly one of the things I learned from her was a natural, holistic and encompassing view of agriculture and winemaking intertwined together. It is something people talk about but I don’t necessarily find backed up all the time by people’s actions or their wines. She believed fervently in the vineyards we worked with, the people that owned and managed them and our ability to show the “place-ness” of each site we worked with. This is not a radical concept now in Oregon. Lots of wineries talk about their sites’ geological make-up, micro-climate and such, but 15-20 years ago that wasn’t really the case. While, perhaps, we had not fully grasped the specifics of our sites and the impact they had on the wines she was dedicated to the individual natures of these sites well before that became fashionable in Oregon.
Patty wanted to make things naturally. That is not to say that we make natural wines or are seen in any way as a natural wine winery even though we probably operate in a way that would easily include us in that spectrum (for whatever that is worth). She felt that from the right sites everything was already available to make wines that were interesting, unique and soulful. She wasn’t a technocrat on wines and never felt like math and science were the answers to getting from fruit to wine. They helped in the process but you needed to enter with a feeling for the vineyard so that you could allow that expression to be revealed in the resulting wine. If you go in with the idea that you know how to “make” the wine or even really have a conception of what you want that wine to be like stylistically then you aren’t going about things the correct way to begin with. From my times in Burgundy I have seen that sort of “bottom up” approach to the synthesis between agriculture and enology being the basis of the domaines I love the most. She had that before she even knew it was a thing, of that I am certain. That what she did gets passed on through the wines that will continue to be made here is a given. We had a special simpatico type of relationship and we learned lessons together over 25 years so the beauty and special nature of the wines from Patricia Green Cellars is going to live on.
Jim Anderson: Owner/Winemaker
Most winery lives don’t ultimately begin growing up on an island 2,500 miles away from what is now home base. It is not that there was a vineyard or winery on Sebascodegan Island in Maine but there was an emphasis on self-reliance, hard work, living off the land and respect for your surroundings that set a tone and tenor not so different from being an effective working winery partner. Working in conjunction with the more free-spirited partner since 1995 has honed an innate sense of quality of things to something where the processes of work, craftsmanship and artisanship result in a specific vision of a vast array of wines. Being peculiar is hardly a personality trait that one casually puts on a resume but non-linear thinking, questioning established ideals, going about things in less than traditional ways and, in general, being somewhat odd has the capacity to serve one well in the stewardship of Pinot Noirs. Majoring in anthropology while minoring in economics is indicative of a mind that willingly fluctuates between a historilogical view of things and the science of why things are they way they are and in that example of a dichotomy there is the essence of a person that wants to explore the interesting and hard to analyze sub-texts of wine by finding ways and methods to illuminate them.
Meet the Team
Melissa Groshong (Right): She has been the main contact person for distributors. She handles all purchase orders and coordinates order logistics. She is the queen of inventory and has been at Patricia Green Cellars for over ten years, so she knows where the bodies are buried, figuratively speaking. Basically if you need something she either knows how to get it or break it gently to you that it is not possible.
Matthew Russell (Center Right): He is the Cellar Master making wines with us since 2007. Moved to Oregon in 1995, with a background in all facets of fine dining including The Heathman, Alberta Street Oyster Bar to name a few. Restaurants are where he formed his passion in wine and the Oregon Wine Industry, meeting Patty Green at a winemaker dinner where he took a position for harvest and the rest is history.
Margaret Barry (Center Left): She took over as Director of Sales in 2014 and her focus is primarily oriented around our direct to consumer sales and wine club. Since everyone here wears many hats, she has experience on both sides of the industry having worked at a large retailer in Charlotte, NC as well as a couple other Oregon wineries since 2010.
Caroline Schoonveld (Left): The newest person on staff but with the longest background of 17 years in the Oregon wine industry. Along with Melissa she is there to provide back up, support and to work with our distributors and retailers around the country so they know what is available, what is going on, get necessary information to you and, as well, coordinate clientele visits to Patricia Green Cellars. We have a nifty “by appointment” tasting room now so folks who are coming to visit Oregon can easily set up a visit to the winery year round.
Patty Green (Center)