When Maryhill Winery owners Craig and Vicki Leuthold first searched for a tasting room location in Woodinville about 10 years ago, things just didn’t work out. Even back then, space was limited, parking was tight, and locations offering visibility were hard to come by. While the field has only grown more crowded in the years since then, the Leutholds now find themselves in the catbird’s seat. In November, they not only finally opened a Woodinville location; they did so in the Hollywood Schoolhouse, the signature landmark in the Hollywood District. Tasting room openings rarely raise eyebrows in Woodinville anymore, but the arrival of one of the state’s largest wineries in one of the town’s most high-profile locations merits a head-turn or two.
The most immediate change for those visiting the Hollywood District’s tasting rooms will be the opportunity to actually step inside the schoolhouse, walk on its vintage maple floors, and admire the craftsmanship inside. Built in 1912 and purchased by the
McAuliffe family of Bothell in 1977, the schoolhouse gained a certain mystique as the area emerged into a wine-tasting destination. Even after Alexandria Nicole Cellars opened its popular tasting room in the building’s bottom floor, the McAuliffes continued renting out the main-level ballroom and parlor-like top floor for weddings and private events. Those sashaying from tasting room to tasting room could only walk by and wistfully wonder about the treasures inside.
This changed in mid-November, when the recently rebranded Maryhill Winery Tasting Room & Bistro opened its public tasting room on the main floor, with its wine-club lounge upstairs. The Leutholds are leasing the space, which remains under the McAuliffe family’s ownership, and Alexandria Nicole Cellars’ tasting room remains open daily. Maryhill’s tasting bars are set inside the original schoolroom, while rows of bistro tables invite sipping and noshing in the portion of the main floor added during the building’s early 1990s expansion.
The new location also gives the winery an opportunity to introduce Puget Sound-area palates to Maryhill wines they won’t find in local grocery stores. The Leutholds, with winemaker Richard Batchelor, produce about 80,000 cases of wine a year, making Maryhill one of Washington’s largest wineries, ranking 17th by volume in 2018. Their Classic wines, including their Winemaker’s Red and Winemaker’s White blends, are widely distributed and well-known for their approachability — in style and price (under $20). But their best wines are bottled under their Vineyard and Proprietor’s Reserve labels, which are all but exclusively sold in Maryhill’s tasting rooms and through its wine club.
The Vineyard series includes about two dozen single-vineyard varietals (and two blends) produced in lots of fewer than 400 cases each. The Proprietor’s Reserves include about 20 more varietals and blends, each produced in quantities ranging from about 300 to 2,500 cases. With nearly 30 different total varietals, sourced from more than a dozen vineyards across Washington (and one in Oregon), the array of choices in these two tiers alone is dizzying. But the common threads between them include a ripeness in the fruit characteristics of each varietal, the presence of secondary flavors, and depth.
These limited-production wines are already a hit in the tasting rooms at the Leutholds’ winery, in Goldendale, and in the satellite tasting rooms they opened in Spokane, in 2017, and in Vancouver, Washington, this past April. And now they can be found in one of the most hard-to-miss locations in Woodinville, too.
Meet the Wines
2015 Proprietor’s Reserve Albariño, $20
An overnight soak on the skins gives Maryhill’s albariño a touch more color than Spanish incarnations of this varietal. Notes of green apple and pear, along with moderate acidity, lend to a crisp finish.
2015 Cinsault, McKinley Springs Vineyard, $42
Bright with color and acidity, this glistening ruby-red pleaser deftly brings the wine’s 15.3 percent alcohol level into submission.
2015 Proprietor’s Reserve Grenache, $42
This dark ruby beauty offers pronounced black cherry notes with only hints of barrel spice. Its accolades include a 90-point rating from jamessuckling.com.
2015 Marvell GSM, $46
The oak influences are a little more pronounced in this inky, full-bodied grenache-syrah-mourvedre blend, sourced from Elephant Mountain and Sugarloaf vineyards, both in Rattlesnake Hills. A balanced combination of dark fruit, barrel spice, and herbaceousness has helped it garner gold at the Cascadia Wine Competition and Seattle Wine Awards.