Six wineries and a distillery have found a new home in The Vault @ Maltby (9206 200th St. SE), in a new wine region less than 30 miles northeast of Seattle and only five miles from Woodinville. We recently visited two wineries — JM Cellars and Guardian Cellars. The new space impressed us, just like their wines have over the years. In fact, we’ve been fans of the wines crafted by John Bigelow, owner/winemaker of JM Cellars, and Jerry Reiner, owner/winemaker of Guardian Cellars, since we launched Write for Wine in 2007.
Unfortunately, neither John nor Jerry were in their new tasting rooms and production facilities during our visit. The other occupants of The Vault @Maltby are Two Vintners, Covington Cellars, Laterus Winery, Gorman Winery and whiskey distiller J.P. Trodden. We adore Morgan Lee’s wines at both Two Vintners and Covington Cellars. And Chris Gorman is 2019 Honorary Vintner of the Auction of Washington Wines for his dedication to the wine industry. We have not spent time at Laterus or J.P. Trodden, but chances are that will change!
John Bigelow makes first-class wine. It’s that simple. We first tasted his wines when we moved to Seattle in 1999, and continue to do so more than two decades later. We became immediate fans of his beautiful Tre Fanciulli blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah, now in its 17th vintage.
Over the years, we’ve also had high praise for JM Cellars Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, Cab Sauvignon, Malbec, Margaret’s Vineyard Estate Red and other tasty blends. And we were delighted to taste John’s new, impressive 2018 Ancora Imparo Grenache – a creative experiment in Grenache aged in Italian clay amphora. Ancora Imparo is an Italian phrase meaning “Still I learn”, a quote credited to Michael Angelo, and fitting for John’s new venture.
With lots of tall windows, JM Cellars’ custom-designed tasting room is bright, light and fun. A large area for production also offers a beautiful space for parties and weddings, in addition to their Woodinville facility. Of note, John is the champion behind The Vault, comprised of three 18,000-square-foot buildings in Maltby. According to the Everett Herald, John “called up some of the top producers in Woodinville and soon had a roster of five award-winning wineries willing to expand to Maltby. The Vault was 100% leased before it was even built.”
When John Bigelow called Jerry Riener about the Maltby plans, he jumped on board. He told the Everett Herald, ““I wanted to be around other wineries who knew how wine should be made. I truly believe if you like one of us, you’ll like us all.”
We first met Jerry when he was a winemaker at Mark Ryan, and then followed him to his own Guardian Cellars, first in Woodinville’s Wine Warehouse District and then in the Hollywood Schoolhouse Wine District.
Guardian Cellars’ beautiful, modern Maltby tasting room and production facility feature symbols of the careers of Jerry, who is a cop, and his co-owner/wife/winemaker, Jennifer, who is a journalist. Stacks of newspapers and photos of police symbols go hand in hand with the names of more than 16 wines under the Guardian and Newsprint labels. We always have a bottle of The Wanted on hand. And we also enjoy Gun Metal, Confidential Source, Chalk Line and The Informant. The more recent, lower-price Newsprint second label is definitely worth checking out.
If you haven’t yet been to The Vault @Maltby, we recommend you head there. Check the wineries’ websites for their hours, of course. The wine is excellent, the tasting room staff are friendly and the atmosphere has a fun vibe. We saw people and dogs everywhere, and plan to bring our two pups the next time. Because there definitely will be a next time. And we hope to visit Two Vintners, Covington, Gorman, Laterus and J.P. Trodden too. (Yes, we will bring a designated driver!)
Margot and Dave