Welcome to the Secret Door.
SECRET DOOR WINERY is a company founded by Donald Patz and Jung Min Lee. It is a love story. When Donald met Jung Min and their love blossomed; Jung Min told Donald that while his wines from Patz & Hall were “nice” her preference was Bordeaux and Cabernet Sauvignon wines.
Jung Min Lee was a real supporter of Donald Patz’s time at Patz & Hall eventually learning to love Pinot Noir, too. Donald had promised Jung Min that if she would move to California from Virginia to be with him he would – someday – make a Cabernet Sauvignon wine for her.
DONALD PATZ – Owner/Winemaker
Born in Fargo, North Dakota but lived in both Minnesota and Oregon before coming to California in 1983. He earned a degree in Biology from the University of Oregon. Mr. Patz’s career in wine spans four decades in the wine business at virtually every level from retail through sales and production. He worked for Flora Springs Winery, Girard Winery before dedicating full time to his previous winery business Patz & Hall Winery.
Mr. Patz is a notable personality and highly regarded professional within the California wine business. His expertise in Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines is unquestioned and although less well-known Mr. Patz also has experience with Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Secret Door Winery is his chance to exercise his skills in a familiar but new arena.
JUNG MIN “Michelle” LEE – Owner
Born in Seoul, South Korea, to a very prominent family Mrs. Lee lived her early life never expecting to live anywhere else. She received a degree in Music from Kyung Hee University where she specialized in playing the Oboe. After a family tragedy, she moved with her young son to the US in 1993. Mrs. Lee is the true inspiration for Secret Door Winery. She developed a real love and appreciation of wine even before meeting Donald Patz.
While living in Virginia she found access to the great wines of Bordeaux much easier than hunting down the latest California sensation. She developed a great appreciation and an accurate wine palate in her own exploration of wine. In 2010, she met Donald and they began their personal journey together. He promised her when she came to live in Napa that someday he would create a Cabernet Sauvignon for her.
How do we do it?
Secret Door Winery has searched out our favorite parts of the Napa Valley with an eye to work with dedicated grape-growers prepared to produce Cabernet Sauvignon grapes of the highest quality. We don’t own these vineyards.
We have the full cooperation of the farming teams to follow our growing protocols and produce the grapes that can make the style of wine that is our vision. Purchasing grapes is not an uncommon practice for wineries in California. With a careful selection of the vineyard site and close cooperation between the grower and the winery there is no difference in quality between purchased grapes and estate grown grapes.