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Dec 17, 2013
Editor’s note: This is the fourth in an occasional series on destination wineries of the Pacific Northwest.
GOLDENDALE, Wash. – When Samuel Hill built his castle-like home in 1914 on a bluff overlooking the mighty Columbia River, he hoped it might become a signature part of an agrarian community that might attract others to this remote area of the Pacific Northwest.
Some 86 years later, Craig and Vicki Leuthold saw the same potential as Sam Hill and built an equally impressive monument to agriculture – this time a winery that shares the same name as Hill’s castle-turned-museum: Maryhill.
In barely more than a decade, the Leutholds’ 4,300-case dream has evolved into one of the Pacific Northwest’s largest and most impressive destination wineries.
Today, Maryhill Winery produces more than 80,000 cases of wine and is home to some of the most stunning views of the Northwest’s natural beauty in wine country. The Leutholds also have created a 4,000-seat concert venue and a gorgeous outdoor deck atop basalt cliffs that overlook the Columbia River below and iconic Mount Hood to the southwest.
Remote Maryhill Winery draws 70,000 visitors annually
Maryhill Winery overlooks the Columbia River and provides some of the most dramatic views in the Pacific Northwest. (Photo courtesy of Maryhill Winery)
Though the winery is far from population centers, easy access from Interstate 84 helps draw more than 70,000 visitors per year to Maryhill. And thanks in large part to Maryhill’s drawing power, the entire Columbia Gorge region — from Goldendale in the east to Hood River, Ore., in the west — has become one of the most enjoyable wine tourism destinations in the entire Pacific Northwest.
And what the Leutholds have created is more than simply a pretty face. Indeed, the wines are impressive, too, having earned more than 1,500 medals and awards in fewer than 15 years.
In 2009, winemaker Richard Batchelor joined Maryhill. The New Zealand native moved from California’s Napa Valley and has elevated Maryhill’s already high quality to a new level.
In 2010, Batchelor began making Maryhill’s first vineyard-designated wines, which were released in late 2012 to critical acclaim. At the same time, the Leutholds also unveiled a new 1,200-square-foot Reserve Room, which is a special area open only to their wine club members. It’s in addition to Maryhill’s 3,000-square-foot tasting room. In total, Batchelor produces nearly 40 different wines, the most popular of which is the Winemaker’s Red, a $15 red blend that has earned top awards around the globe.
Adjacent to and below the winery are vines tended by the Gunkel family, which has been farming in the area since Sam Hill’s arrival. Batchelor relies on grapes from throughout the vast Columbia Valley, however, using fruit from the Rattlesnake Hills in the northwest corner of the Yakima Valley all the way to the eastern Walla Walla Valley in the foothills of the Blue Mountains.
If you plan to bring your pets, Maryhill Winery is dog-friendly. Potter is a 125-pound Great Pyrenees, and the tasting room staff keeps treats behind the bar for guests who would like to feed him. The winery also is home to two cats: Sam and Valentine.
Maryhill Winery amenities
Bocce courts are available for guest uses at Maryhill Winery near Goldendale, Wash. (Photo courtesy of Maryhill Winery)
Special area for wine club members
Food for sale, such as cheeses
Four bocce courts available for use of guests
Group tours and tastings (call ahead)
Nearby restaurants recommended by Maryhill Winery
The Glass Onion
Clock Tower Ales
The Towne House
Montira’s Thai House
Nearby overnight accommodations recommended by Maryhill Winery
The Dalles Inn
Nearby coffee places recommended by Maryhill Winery
Other activities to enjoy while visiting Maryhill Winery
Maryhill Museum of Art
Columbia Hills State Park and Horsethief Lake
Nichols Art Glass
Maryhill Winery hours and contact info
The winery is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.
9774 Highway 14
Goldendale, WA 98620