The Maryhill Winery tasting room is set to make its grand debut at The Waterfront Vancouver this weekend. Owners Craig and Vicki Leuthold kicked things off Thursday with a media and industry preview night.
“It’s very rewarding to see it full of people,” said Vicki Leuthold.
The 5,000-square-foot space has undergone a radical transformation in just a few months. A vintage-style bar dominates the main wall opposite the kitchen serving window and a stage for musical performances. Rows of shelves hold hundreds of bottles of wine in the center of the tasting room.
“We had to make a few tweaks along the way, but everything was pretty much as we envisioned it,” said Craig Leuthold.
On the riverfront side, dozens of tables have been installed both inside and on the outdoor patio, for a total guest capacity of 300, according to Craig Leuthold. The private wine club member lounge has opened, complete with its own bar and seating area and a wall-size image of the winery’s barrel room in the Columbia River Gorge.
Most of the guests Thursday were distributors, partners and friends in the wine industry, and the space looked like it was quickly filling to capacity as guests made their way to the main bar counter. Light music on the tasting room speakers eventually gave way to a live performance from the room’s stage area.
“I’m a wine guy, so I’ve been looking forward to this for months,” said Warren Webb, who owns Blind Onion Pizza in Portland.
Brian and Hope Matranga, owners of Woodland-based Matranga Vineyards, said they’d met the Leutholds at a Washington wineries association meeting, and both offered strong praise for the new tasting room.
“It’s a wonderful place, and awesome that it’s by the Columbia River,” said Hope Matranga.
Interior work has been underway since late January, but Craig Leuthold said the tasting room only secured the last of its permits about a week ago, so there was a rush at the end to get all the wines in place after a truckload of 600 cases was delivered April 5.
“It’s always a push to the finish line,” Craig Leuthold said.
The Leutholds brought another 60 cases Wednesday just to make sure the tasting room is ready for the weekend. Dozens of unopened boxes lined the walls of the tasting room at Thursday’s event, but Craig Leuthold said he anticipated selling through them all over the course of the weekend.
“We’re going to be full to the brim all weekend, I anticipate, and hopefully thereafter,” Craig Leuthold said.
Thursday’s event will be followed by a private event tonight for Maryhill wine club members, and then a public grand opening through the weekend that will begin with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 11 a.m. Saturday.
The tasting room is on the ground floor of the Gramor Development building on Block 12 of the waterfront development next to the Grant Street Pier. The Maryhill site is on the western side of the building. Twigs Bistro and Martini Bar opened on the eastern side in the fall, and a brewpub called Barlow’s Public House is set to open in the building’s second floor later this year.
The Leutholds founded the Maryhill Winery in 1999 in the Columbia River Gorge near Goldendale, and opened their first tasting room there soon after. The winery produces 80,000 cases annually and partners with two dozen vineyards across the state, and the site sees more than 75,000 guests annually.
The Waterfront Vancouver tasting room is Maryhill Winery’s third, following the original in Goldendale and a second in Spokane. A fourth is scheduled to join the lineup later this year in Woodinville.