If you are local to the Woodinville area, you may have driven the winding road through the tress up the hill from Chateau Ste. Michelle and thought that it was undeveloped land, just waiting for some developer to rip it all out and build a neighborhood of Merlot McMansions. I know I did. Until Wednesday.
Earlier this week, I took the leap of faith and made the only left turn on that stretch of road. I did not drive off into a forested ditch, but up onto a spot known as the Bramble Bump. And there among the mature trees and fairy lights is a lovely, secluded winery with some seriously cool doors – JM Cellars.
I work for a large technology company that has a fantastic culture of giving. Every October there is online auction with interesting experiences and things. Last Fall, I won a slot to make wine with our executive leadership team. While the opportunity to have face time with our executives was very valuable and a lot of fun, my favorite part of the event was to meet John Bigelow and learn about his wine.
With all love and respect, John Bigelow is a wine nerd.
He shared the history of the area (um, did you know about the ghost of the brothel Madame that haunts the upper floors of the Ste. Michelle Manor house?), some details of their beautiful property (they have five of the tallest trees of their kind in the state), and his love for his vineyards. He described Margaret’s Vineyard (the M of JM) and his 2,716 vines there (I hope I got that number right). The bold second year cutting to the ground of their vines to drive the roots deep into the broken basalt for minerality in the fruit. The way he personally trains his team each harvest with exacting demands on what qualities are needed in a cluster to pass muster for his wine and what is dropped to the ground in the vineyard benefitting the soil for the future. Here is a guy who is in it from dirt to vine to table. He is my kind of dude.
He gave us a tour and bragged on his wife’s design skills in making it a beautiful place. She is Peggy, the Margaret of Margaret’s Vineyard. I too appreciated the design details of the winery. It was like I had stumbled into a secret garden, just like the book I loved when I was little.
The lovely setting, the stellar Bordeaux-style reds and the perfect summer Cinsault Rose of JM Cellars make it a place I intend to visit more often.
If you want to experience it for yourself, the tasting room is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Here is where you can find the details. Enjoy!