Woodinville has long blossomed into and firmly planted itself as an essential territory of Washington wine country. You likely don’t require this reminder. As the area has climbed the ranks throughout the past decade, it’s only natural that many things have changed — but Mark Ryan Winery continues to crush the game.
Owner and executive winemaker Mark McNeilly founded the label in 1999 before the winery settled in Woodinville in 2003. Since then, McNeilly has joined forces with winemaking partner and collaborator Mike Macmorran, and the team continues to create beautiful blends that often showcase varietals hailing from Red Mountain and Yakima Valley AVA vineyards. But a decade and change later, don’t assume they’re up to the same old.
“I am continually drawn to exploring new avenues, whether in winemaking, varietals, labels or tasting spaces,” McNeilly says. This includes one of the winery’s current projects: launching a tasting room dedicated to and inspired by its Board Track Racer line, sure to feature plenty of the characteristic motorcycle label art.
What else is McNeilly up to? We heard from the guy who started it all.
1) Which of your own current offerings are you digging the most?
Little Sister Reserve Merlot. It’s our first time creating a Merlot from Washington and it’s an exciting offering.
2) Any winemaking pipe dreams you’re dying to make a reality?
Creating a Bordeaux wine at Château Lynch-Bages [in France] — and with the 2016 Mark Ryan Winery Cheval Mort, it recently became a reality!
3) What non-wine beverage is in your glass most these days? What is your favorite way to enjoy it and where?
Coffee from Espresso Vivace, usually while driving around in my car.
4) Favorite song, album or artist to jam out to while throwing a few down the hatch?
The New Queens of the Stone Age album, “Villains,” especially the song “Feet Don’t Fail Me.”