Patterson Cellars announced today the purchase of the former Tertulia Cellars winery and its surrounding Whistling Hills Vineyard in Walla Walla Valley. The long-time Woodinville producer will move most of its production to the valley and open a tasting room there.
“My team’s excited. I’m excited. It’s going to be a good move,” says owner and winemaker John Patterson.
The purchase includes Tertulia’s 9,200-square-foot production facility and tasting room space located in the southside of Walla Walla. It also includes a 14+ acre surrounding vineyard. A little over seven of those acres are currently planted, with room for an additional 1.4 acres. The Tertulia brand and inventory were not part of the sale.
The building will be rebranded as Patterson Cellars and will have a tasting room, Patterson’s fifth. Patterson will continue to have two tasting rooms in Woodinville, one at Hollywood Hill and one in the Warehouse District. The winery will also continue to operate satellite tasting rooms in Seattle and Leavenworth. Patterson himself will relocate to Walla Walla.
“I’m just looking for a little bit of a change. I’m hoping that, with the move, life will be a little slower,” Patterson says, noting this year will be his 36th harvest.
The winery plans to continue all existing vineyard contracts and hire someone to manage the new estate property. Walla Walla Valley currently comprises approximately 20% of Patterson’s fruit. Patterson produced 18,000 cases of wine in 2021. The winery plans to add 2,800 square feet of space to its new building to accommodate that production.
“We can get one vintage in [to the existing building], but we can’t get two vintages,” says Patterson. “So that will be one of the first things we do.” The winery also plans to add covered outdoor spaces to serve guests.
In addition to moving the majority of production, Patterson will be winding down his healthy consulting business. This has involved everything from custom crush and equipment use to various other services for numerous western Washington wineries.
“I’ve got a lot of customers and friends that I’ve worked with for 15-plus years,” says Patterson. “I’ve been letting them know that I have to focus on a different phase of my business.”
Patterson Cellars was founded in 2000 in Monroe, Washington by John Patterson and his father Jack. John had previously spent 13 years at Quilceda Creek. The winery moved to Woodinville’s Warehouse District in 2007. While Patterson is relocating the winery, he remains bullish on the future of Woodinville.
“Downtown there’s so much going on,” he says. “You’ve got the new schoolhouse, you’ve got Woodin Creek, and you’ve got all the multi-use buildings. It’s exciting to see it all.” Patterson is currently serving his ninth year as president of Woodinville Wine Country, a local promotional body.
With the move, Patterson says he hopes to spend more time with the winery’s customers. “I love working with the guests when they come in and in greeting them and talking to them. For me, that’s so relaxing.”
Tertulia Cellars closed its doors in 2021 after 16 years in business. With this sale, owner Jim O’Connell continues to have two vineyards in Walla Walla Valley, Elevation Vineyard in the North Fork region and Rivière Galets in The Rocks District. METIS, a mergers and acquisitions firm specializing in Pacific Northwest wineries and vineyards, served as the exclusive transactional advisor in the sale. Terms were not announced.
Images of Tertulia Cellars and John Patterson by Richard Duval.