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exploring wine with tim fish

Toasting the Return of ‘Twin Peaks’

Actor and Washington vintner Kyle MacLachlan returns as Agent Cooper
Photo by: Suzanne Tenner / Showtime
Kyle MacLachlan takes a break from winemaking to solve another Twin Peaks mystery.

Posted: May 18, 2017 11:10am ET

Donuts? Check!

Cherry pie? Check!

Damn fine cup of coffee? Check!

Agent Dale Cooper and those peculiar folks of Twin Peaks are back after 25 years.

"Sadly, we did lose the Log Lady," says Kyle MacLachlan, the actor who became a cultural icon as Agent Cooper when the original TV series debuted in April 1990. The Log Lady (played by Catherine Coulson) may be gone, but MacLachlan and much of the original cast returns this Sunday night, May 21, with 18 new episodes of Twin Peaks on Showtime.

MacLachlan's résumé includes Desperate Housewives, Portlandia, Sex and the City and the cult classic film Blue Velvet, but he's also known by our readers as the owner of Washington state's Pursued by Bear wine label. The wines have received outstanding reviews from Wine Spectator since the first release, 2005.

Recently, MacLachlan chatted with me about the new Twin Peaks and what's ahead for Pursued by Bear. Even after more than 30 years in the business, he essentially remains a good-hearted guy from eastern Washington.

It's easy to forget now, but in 1990 Twin Peaks was groundbreaking TV. The Internet was still a pup and we didn't yet have 18 million TV channels to distract us. Created by eccentric genius director David Lynch, it was edgy and weird and funny and unpredictable and totally different from anything that had been on TV. It laid the foundation for future shows like Lost, True Detective, American Horror Story and Stranger Things.

"Agent Cooper was probably my favorite character I ever played," MacLachlan, 58, says. Fortuitously, many of the exterior scenes for the original show were shot near his hometown of Yakima. "Going back and putting on the suit and seeing all the people I haven't seen for years. That, combined with working with David Lynch again—it was exciting."

The new episodes were written by cocreators Mark Frost and Lynch, who also directed. Considering how leaky Hollywood can be, the updated Twin Peaks has been shrouded in secrecy. MacLachlan is forbidden to reveal anything, but has this to offer: "This is not a return to Twin Peaks. It has new stories to tell and new places to go." There are new, younger cast members along with the original players.

MacLachlan credits director Lynch for launching his movie career and his interest in wine. MacLachlan was doing theater in his home state when Lynch chose him for the lead in 1984's Dune. It turned out to be a big-budget dud at the box office but it established MacLachlan.

During production of Dune, the director gave MacLachlan a bottle of Lynch Bages. "Drinking this wine caused me to re-evaluate everything I knew about wine," MacLachlan said in a 2008 Wine Spectator interview.

As his passion for wine grew, he decided to make his own and joined with winemaker Eric Dunham of Dunham Cellars to launch Pursued by Bear under the Dunham Maclachlan label. Following Dunham's death in 2014, MacLachlan has been considering the future of the brand.

"What started as a hobby has sort of become a small business," MacLachlan says. "It kind of stood up and said, 'Here I am!'"

MacLachlan trusted Dunham with every aspect of the business, but has taken on a stronger role since his passing. His winemaker is Dan Wampfler, formerly of Dunham and now with Abeja. For now, MacLachlan says, the wine will continue to be made at Dunham but that could change.

Beginning with the 2014 vintage, the Dunham Maclachlan name will be dropped and the label will just be Pursued by Bear. "I felt like more than anything, the brand needed its own identity," MacLachlan says.

I hope he keeps making wine, because they're always impressive. As for Twin Peaks, I can't wait, but one thing's for sure: I'm stocking up on donuts.

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