Northwest Wine Academy graduates go on to careers in all facets of the wine industry: retail, wine directors, marketing, winery management and wine production. Below are a few featured Wine Academy graduates:
William Grassie, NWWA Class of 2010
William Grassie Wine Estates
Bill Grassie embarked upon his vision to create world class wine in 2006, when he moved to the Seattle area. Bill loves great wine and is an avid gardener. His passion for gardening led him to plant a vineyard on a bare patch of ground at his new property in Fall City, WA. This seemingly inconsequential decision in 2007 (to create the vineyard) accelerated his efforts to become a wine maker as it lead him to the Northwest Wine Academy. At the Northwest Wine Academy, Bill gained valuable knowledge and developed critical relationships enabling him to create award winning wines in 2011, his first vintage. His 2011 Courageux Red received a 91 point rating, and Impératrice Red received 90 points from Wine Enthusiast.
John Patterson, NWWA Class of 2009
John was first introduced to winemaking by his father Jack Patterson over 22 years ago. He’s been making his own wine since 2000, under both the Patterson Cellars and Woodslake labels. Today the portfolio of wines made by Patterson Cellars is as wide as it is impressive, including single varietals, red and white blends, nonvintage wines and late-harvest dessert wines.
Tony Dollar, NWWA Class of 2009
After a bike crash which broke his spine, Tony decided to return to his core values of spending his life in a community with friends and family, drinking wine and eating food.
Tony attended the Northwest Wine Academy, focusing on wine making. His wine roots go back to his college days where he ran tours out of one of California’s first wineries, Almaden Vineyards in San Jose, California. From there, he traveled to Sweden, Denmark, England, Scotland and the Netherlands, before returning to San Jose and J. Lohr Winery. There, he ran the tasting room and served as Hospitality Director. One day, bored with tasting rooms, he bought a VW van – inspired by On the Road and Travels with Charlie and toured the country before settling in Seattle. This is where he found wine to be the most promising. He served briefly as a wine steward at the world-renown Canlis Restaurant, left to write, wrote, and now he’s back in the business, but this time making wine… wine that he hopes you find to be full of promise and flavor.
Dick Mettler, NWWA Class of 2008
Dick first learned of winemaking helping his father decades ago in the garage in California. He then moved to Washington and made wine in the garage again–this time on a bigger scale. Of course, he had a little help from the Northwest Wine Academy with certificates in Winemaking and wine Sales and Marketing.
Michael Savage, NWWA Class of 2011
Savage Grace Wines
Savage Grace Wines was established in 2011 by owner-winemaker Michael Savage, with a vintage of Cabernet Franc. Savage has long been passionate about wine. He developed his palate through tastings, extensive reading, as well as through formal studies in the Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) and the Northwest Wine Academy. His vision is to make Old World style lower-alcohol, balanced, and expressive wines. He is continuing to deepen his core understanding of all stages in the vinification process, to put his philosophy of low-intervention winemaking into practice, where the grape, vineyard and vintage form a unique balance.
“SAVAGE” – echoes the struggle of the grape to withstand the stress of ripening, along with making wine that is true to the grape, site, and vintage.
“GRACE” – also his wife’s name, is symbolizing what he hopes to achieve as the end result: a wine that is delicate, balanced, approachable yet expressive.