I’ll Drink to That: Jeffrey Patterson of Mount Eden Vineyards

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Episode 346 of I’ll Drink to That! was released recently. It features features Jeffrey Patterson, winemaker and co-owner at Mount Eden Vineyards and Domaine Eden in California’s Santa Cruz Mountains.

Jeffrey Patterson, who has worked at Mount Eden Vineyards for 35 years, is the only California winemaker I have ever heard reply “because that’s the way we’ve always done it” when answering a question about technique. While it might be expected in Europe, an answer that references long tradition is pretty rare within California wine. But Jeffrey is in the rare position of only ever having one job, and of working for the same winery for his entire career. Over the course of Jeffrey’s long tenure at Mount Eden he has developed a particularly close knowledge of the winery’s pioneer founder, Martin Ray. And although Ray’s heyday was in the 1940s and 1950s and the two men never met, Jeffrey worked in Ray’s old cellar, moved into his old home, vinified grapes from the vines Ray planted, befriended Ray’s widow, and became a studious caretaker of Ray’s legacy on the mountain. This interview contains multiple insights about Ray, and makes clear how key that man was in the development of the California wine scene. In fact this episode tackles over a hundred years of California winemaking history all told, from the arrival of Paul Masson before the advent of the 20th century, through to Ray, then the changing of the guard at UC Davis, and on to Jeffrey’s direct predecessors at Mount Eden – people like Richard Graff and Merry Edwards. If you want to know how current winemaking in California relates to what came before, this is an excellent episode to turn to for the answers.

Listen to the stream above, or check it out in iTunes.

I’ll Drink to That is the world’s most listened-to wine podcast, hosted by Levi Dalton. Levi has had a long career working as a sommelier in some of the most distinguished and acclaimed dining rooms in America. He has served wine to guests of Restaurant Daniel, Masa, and Alto, all in Manhattan. Levi has also contributed articles on wine themes to publications such as The Art of Eating, Wine & Spirits magazine, Bon Appetit online, and Eater NY. Check out his pictures on Instagram and follow him on Twitter: @levi_opens_wine