Torii Mor hired Green in 1993, where she worked
for the next seven years. It was during this time that Green developed
a loyal staff that stayed with her after she left Torii Mor. The parting
was not easy.
was uncertain what she would do next. She didn’t think
it would be in the wine industry.
“I was ready to change my life,” Green
recalled. “I was burned out, fed up and tired with the wine business.
I don’t think people understand how hard this work can
wine for other people was sometimes frustrating, especially
if winery owners and the winemaker didn’t always see
eye to eye.
Green was ready to leave the wine industry, it was not ready
to let her go. She left Torii Mor in 2000 without knowing
where the future would lead her. It was deja vue with Green—following
instincts when the path before her was as clear as a desert sand
the past, Green always landed on her feet, happy to pursue another
adventure in her life. This time, however, grape growers and winemakers
urge her to stay in the industry and produce wine.
owners told Green they wanted to sell their fruit to her.
She explained she had nothing—no winery,
no equipment, no staff. But Green promised to consider their
offers if something fell into her lap.
short time later, I walked into Panther
Creek Cellars and there were a number of (Willamette
Valley) winemakers doing a tasting,” Green recalled. “As
I walked over to their table, they all applauded me.
“It was the spurring on from people in
the wine industry that kept me here,” she added. “I
am very thankful to those people in the Oregon wine industry.”
Wright said he doesn’t believe
Green would have left the industry.
“Her internal compass would have brought
her back,” Wright said. “She so obviously loves what
she is doing and she wears that enjoyment. She loves it right
down to her soul.”
March 1, 2000, about two weeks after she left the wine industry, Jim
Anderson, who worked at Torii Mor with Green, and left at the same
time, received a call from Tom and Wendy Kreutner, owners of Autumn
Wind Vineyards. The couple offered to sell their winery. Green and
Anderson had a friend who wanted to be a silent partner in an Oregon
winery so all parties began discussions.
“By July 21, we closed the deal and looked
forward to harvest,” Green said. “It was pretty fateful
estate has 26 acres, although Green and Anderson farm 60
acres of property for grapes. Green lives at the estate with
four cats—they take care of the house and farm just fine
when their owner is on the road.
it not for the loyalty of her friends and employees—Anderson
(her business partner and cellarmaster), Jose Garcia (her
vineyard manager who worked with her at Torii Mor) several
vineyard workers who have been with her for years and others
who helped out when it was needed, Green said the winery
would only be a dream, not a reality.
“I think when you go to a winery, there
is a feeling about it, an ambience,” Green said. “We
are a cohesive bunch. We are a loyal group and I think it shows.
“I don’t do all of this by myself—it’s
physically impossible to do it all. If you take care of the people
around you, you will get rewarded.”
The Patty Green Wines
Most people familiar with Patty Green wines say
they are accessible from the moment the cork pops, and age well in
the cellar. Green is able to get great fruit extraction from her wines,
and wonderful aromatics.
When asked how she delivers such consistent,
superb wines, Green smiles like the cat that ate the canary. It is
a secret, although she will tell bits and pieces of her winemaking
style to those who ask at the winery.
is not a secret is the value of her wines. While many Oregon
Pinot Noirs sell for $40 to $75 per bottle, Green’s
Pinots, often rated higher than the more pricey wines, retail
for less. Her wines sell quickly, despite hard economic times.
Green and Anderson use only native yeast in making
their wines. The do not purchase or add commercial yeast to get grapes
to ferment. She also puts certain types of lees back into the barrels
while the wines are aging. Lees are the seeds, skins and related solids
that fall to the bottom of fermenting grape juice. They can add a layering
quality to the wine and a berry-like texture.
“It’s a stylistic thing for me,” Green
said. “Some people like a lot more wood. Some like tighter
wines with higher acid levels. I like a softness and richness
in the front of the wine.”
Anderson said his partner has great instincts
for winemaking and one of the best noses in the business. He says she
is great to work with and has a keen sense of humor.
“She is very intuitive—in the vineyard
and in the winery,” Anderson said. “Her wines are
very well balanced and great with food. But her best asset is
her nose. She has developed a great nose. I think it benefits
her more than tasting.”
Balcombe is probably the most popular vineyard
for Patty Green wines. The vineyard is on a convex slope and was planted
in 1986. The wines made from this site have wonderful fruit flavors,
a little sweetness in the finish and layers upon layers in the mouth.
The Estate Vineyard has been under rehabilitation
since Green and Anderson purchased the winery. The wines are loaded
with black fruit and structure, yet the wine is approachable now.
Shea Vineyards has outstanding grapes and the
wine is lush and luxurious and filled with lingering black cherry flavors.
Green consistently makes great wine from this vineyard.
Quail Hill Vineyard produces small, intense yields
of fruit with hints of herbs and plumy sweetness. When she produced
wine from this vineyard for Torii Mor, a bottle of wine cost $100.
Now that she creates wine under her own label, the wine is still great,
and much less expensive.
and Anderson have managed the Eason Vineyard, in the Dundee
Hills, since 1994. This vineyard produces dense wine with
red fruit flavor that will age well. The Anden Vineyard produces
dark fruit with a core of sweet candied cherries. As Anderson
of bigger styles will like this wine.”
winery also produces small lots of Chardonnay and Sauvignon
Patricia Green Estate Vineyard, lower Block, July 2003
Patricia Green Cellars produced about 5,000 cases
when Green and Anderson took over Autumn Wind Winery. In 2002, she
produced 8,500 cases and says that is enough.
“We’re going to wait and see how
that much wine works for us,” Green said. “I don’t
think we’ll get any bigger. I would have to change the
style of fermentation and it would change the flow of how our
she isn’t in the vineyard hovering
over crops, or in the winery or on the road selling her wines,
Green says she is content to live in wine country and savor
her surroundings and her good fortune.
Patty and supporters, July 2003
an animal lover, Green says she once had a fantasy to own
and run a ranch, complete with horses and real cowboys. Her
life keeps her too busy for ranching, but she doesn’t
cross out the idea.
With Patty Green, the next turn in the road could
be another adventure.
“My life was never run in chaos,” Green
said. “Things just came along that fit—it was part
of the momentum of how my life worked.”
A growing number of women are making wine for
a career but Green admitted when she first started, it was not easy
for her. The difference, she said, was she was ambitious, friendly
and hard working.
“I always worked in male dominated industries,
so entering this one was no different,” Green said. “I
look back now and see it was tough. But when I was immersed in it,
I didn’t think I was getting singled out. I was friendly
and most people were friendly back.”
Green doesn’t get the same amount
of media attention as other Northwest wineries, she is content,
for the moment, to keep just under the radar as long as she
can sell what she produces. Her wines have a loyal following
and many people take advantage of purchasing Patty Green
futures to have first dibs at her wine.
recent barrel tasting of Green’s 2002
shows her wine to be right on the money and in danger of radar
tracking to bring the world to her wines. Her wines beg
to dance with food.
“We’re lucky to have Patty Green
in Oregon,” said a neighboring winemaker. “She is
a great ambassador for the industry and just a lot of fun. She
is the kind of person you would just like to hang out with.”