Our Primary Focus
Our primary focus at Category 5 Cellars is not wine, it’s people—our employees, families, customers, growers and vendors. Without people, we can’t make exceptional wine. People first. Then, we focus on wine.
Jason Smith, Winemaker & Owner
The Wine making
Melding Climates to Create a Complex Wine
Washington is blessed with a variety of growing climates for wine grapes. This allows us to source fruit from both warm and cool growing sites. Cooler vineyard growing sites can produce wines that are higher in acid, and when picked earlier, lower in alcohol and more delicate on the palate. Warm sites can produce big, ripe, lush wines that are heavy on the palate, but typically lower in acid. At Category 5, we focus on blending these extremes to create an amazingly complex wine.
Winemakers Aren't Everything
If you want a great steak, you need to start with a great cut of meat. One can take a sub-par cut of beef and marinate it, pound it, do whatever they want. In the end, it will never be an exceptional steak.
The exact same principle applies to wine making. Vineyards, their managers and field crews who grow and hand off grapes that go in to an exceptional bottle of wine deserve at least half the credit for the success. That’s why we focus on establishing close relationships with the vineyards and their managers which we source fruit from. Our vineyards and their managers are true partners in our winery. It is our goal to educate our customers that great wines truly start in great vineyards, run by passionate people, and if the winemaker correctly does their job once the fruit is handed off to them, the partnership will yield an exceptional wine.
Jason Smith, Winemaker and Owner
Jason Smith was born and raised on a pear orchard in Wenatchee, Washington. As the 4th generation of Smith farmers, it was always quietly assumed he would take over his family’s farm when he was of age, but everything changed when he got his first computer at 13. By the age of 16, he was building computers in his parent’s basement and selling them to businesses. From there, it was 4 years of University, and a 22 year career in high tech.
In 2015, he decided to make a career change, and venture back towards his roots in agriculture. Having been interested in wine since he was 18, he attended the Winemaking program at the Northwest Wine Academy at South Seattle College, and also interned on the winemaking team for 2 years at Patterson Cellars. In 2017, he took a very aggressive leap, and started Category 5 Cellars.
Jason looks forward to utilizing his agriculture, customer service and technical background to work more closely with the vineyards, and help bridge the gap between the vines, the winery, and the customer.
Stan Tomson, Assistant Winemaker
Stan grew up on a horse ranch outside of Pullman, WA. Following highschool he moved to the Seattle area where he attended the University of Washington, much to the chagrin of his family of Cougars. Following college he began working for QFC, where he eventually found himself in the position as Wine Steward knowing very little about wine. Very quickly, however, he discovered a love for wine and a desire to learn more, especially how it's made. To that end he enrolled in the wine production program at the Northwest Wine Academy at South Seattle College. Following the completion of the program at the NW Wine Academy he interned at Kevin White Winery in Woodinville, WA and then found his way to Category 5 Cellars following the internship.