Finding Home Again: Kyle MacLachlan Chats Live About Making Wine Where He Grew Up

The Golden Globe-winning actor and Washington vintner talks about growing up in an up-and-coming wine region, his enduring film career and how he approaches making wine

Finding Home Again: Kyle MacLachlan Chats Live About Making Wine Where He Grew Up
Kyle MacLachlan has been making wine from Washington's Columbia Valley since 2005. (Andréa Johnson)
Apr 30, 2021

When Kyle MacLachlan finished a screen test for his first feature film, Dune, director David Lynch thanked him by sending a bottle of Château Lynch-Bages to his L.A. hotel room. It was MacLachlan's first taste of Bordeaux and the first of many wine encounters he'd have along a storied acting career filled with memorable characters. In the latest episode of Straight Talk with Wine Spectator, the Twin Peaks star and founder of Washington wine label Pursued By Bear spoke with senior editor Tim Fish about his favorite roles over the years, making wine on his home turf and the meaning behind his label.

MacLachlan grew up in eastern Washington at a time when established wineries were few and far between. Regardless, he was exposed to wine at an early age, and especially loved wine with food. "I was always kind of a wine guy," MacLachlan said. "Even in high school I preferred wine over any other drink."

As MacLachlan's career progressed, his encounters with winemakers in Napa Valley got him thinking about making wine. One of those early inspirations was meeting Ann Colgin of Colgin Cellars in the 1990s. But he preferred to start his winemaking journey in Washington in order to be closer to home. MacLachlan ultimately partnered with Walla Walla winemaker Eric Dunham in 2005, debuting his Pursued By Bear label with a Cabernet Sauvignon. More recently, the busy actor has been working with local winemaker Daniel Wampfler of Abeja to expand the label.

"I just love the process," MacLachlan said after recently returning from blending his 2018 vintage. "I love going back to eastern Washington. I love the world of wine and the people that are in that community. The journey has been terrific."

Over the years MacLachlan has explored other grapes. In 2008, he released his 100 percent Syrah, called 'Baby Bear' (a tribute to his son, who was born that year). And in the past decade, he and Wampfler have introduced three more wines, including 'Blushing Bear,' a rosé made in the Bandol style with Grenache, Mourvedre and Cinsault.

So why 'Pursued By Bear'? MacLachlan credits the name to William Shakespeare, who wrote the phrase as a stage direction ("exit, pursued by bear") in The Winter's Tale. MacLachlan says he likes it because he believes it is Shakespeare's most eccentric, unexpected, most specific of any stage direction he ever wrote.

"It's not so much fun for the actor," MacLachlan joked. "It plays into my personality: I'm playful, but on the inside I am pretty serious about what I do. The wine inside is serious and we're serious about what we make."

Watch the full episode with MacLachlan on Wine Spectator's IGTV channel, and tune in to catch Straight Talk with Wine Spectator every week. On May 5, senior editor Bruce Sanderson will chat with Le Bernardin's wine director Aldo Sohm. And on May 12, senior editor MaryAnn Worobiec will talk to California vintner Kathryn Hall.

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