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Maryhill Winery preps for final concert at its amphitheater
GOLDENDALE, Wash. — The Aug. 25 performance by Grammy Award-winning blues men Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite will be the final concert staged at Maryhill Winery’s 4,000-seat amphitheater, set with the Columbia River as a picturesque backdrop.
Co-owners Craig and Vicki Leuthold announced their news Monday morning. They opened their winery in 2001 on the edge of the Columbia Gorge and have grown it to become one of Washington’s largest and most successful brands, producing 80,000 cases annually. Their amphitheater, which opened in 2003 and was expanded five years later, helped Maryhill become one of the state’s most-visited winery destinations.
“The dynamics of the concert business have changed significantly since we started this series 15 years ago,” Craig Leuthold said in a news release. “There are a lot more outdoor venues and casinos all competing for great musical talent. Our wine business continues to grow aggressively, and we need to concentrate our efforts on our core business of producing and selling high-quality wines.”
Richard Batchelor’s winemaking continues to reap national and international awards for Maryhill. Last month, the native of New Zealand earned the Winemaker of the Year trophy at the Indy International Wine Competition staged on the campus of Purdue University. It marked the second time in six years for Batchelor to dominate the judging in West Lafayette, Ind.
In 2014, Maryhill received the Winery of the Year award at the 2014 San Francisco International Wine Competition. In 2015, Wine Press Northwest magazine named Maryhill as the Pacific Northwest Winery of the Year. This spring, Maryhill amassed 14 gold medals at the Cascadia International Wine Competition, a judging that selected the Maryhill Winery 2015 Elephant Mountain Vineyard Carménère as the best red wine among the field of 1,012 entries — a wine that’s not been released.
Last fall, Maryhill opened an additional tasting room in the Leutholds’ hometown of Spokane, and their Kendall Yards location overlooking the Spokane River has been a success.
Maryhill Winery continues Terrace Music Series
In 2015, Maryhill did not stage any concerts at its amphitheater because summer highway construction. The year prior, they played host to three classic rock shows — Peter Frampton, Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull and a doubleheader featuring Foreigner and Styx.
The Leutholds averaged about three concerts per year, a trend they continued for 2018. Their first two were held on the June 16-17 weekend featuring Chris Isaak, Michael Franti and Spearhead. All three of their shows involved recording artists on Northwest tours that also take them to Chateau Ste. Michelle, which will play host to more than two dozen shows during its 34th annual Summer Concert Series.
It would seem natural to convert the amphitheater into additional vineyards, but the Leutholds said they haven’t finalized any plans.
“We want to thank all our fans and supporters and encourage anyone who enjoys — or hasn’t seen — our concerts at Maryhill’s amphitheater to do so in August,” he said. “Maryhill Winery offers top-quality artists, an expansive outdoor lawn, panoramic views of the area’s breathtaking landscape, excellent food and wine, and great views from every seat.”
Leuthold said Maryhill will continue to support regional musicians at their showpiece winery, and its Terrace Music Series will remain at its popular vine-covered terrace each weekend during the summer.
“We invite everyone to come enjoy Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite on their brilliant No Mercy In This Land Tour,” Leuthold said. “It will be a wonderful blues-infused show and a great sendoff as we discontinue future summer concerts at Maryhill Winery.”