This week Mark Ryan Winery announced it had purchased full ownership of Underground Wine Project. The dual project between Woodinville’s Mark Ryan Winery and Walla Walla’s Sleight of Hand Cellars began in 2014.
“I love Underground Wine Project, but it’s never been a top priority for either side,” says Mark Ryan founder and winemaker Mark McNeilly. “This was a good business decision for us, and I also think it was a good business decision for them.”
Underground Wine Project includes Mr. Pink Rosé, Idle Hands Red Blend, and Devil’s Playground Cabernet Sauvignon. All three wines will now be folded into the Mark Ryan portfolio, which includes Mark Ryan Winery, Board Track Racer, Lu & Oly, Flowerhead, and Megan Anne Cellars. Of the three Underground wines, Mr. Pink is the driver at 15,000 cases in the last vintage. McNeilly anticipates broadening that wine’s reach.
“Rosé is such a hot SKU right now,” he says. “I suspect we can grow Mr. Pink. It’s got a lot of potential.” McNeilly anticipates Idle Hands and Devil’s Playground might also grow.
“I want me and my team to step back and look at all the Mark Ryan family of wines and see where the Devil’s Playground and Idle Hands fit in, but I think they’re very viable and we’ve had great success with them,” he says. “I think we can go a little bit more broad in distribution for all these SKUs.” Of note, McNeilly says Underground’s commitment to philanthropy will continue.
The 2021 vintage of Mr. Pink, due out in February, will be the first release of Underground Wine Project under Mark Ryan.