Early Mountain Vineyards was so much in the news
that it's unlikely you didn't hear at least a few little tidbits. In short, a grand but struggling winery was rescued by Steve and Jean Case, formerly of AOL and now of Revolution and the Case Foundation, and now operates as a social enterprise, with hoped-for profits earmarked to help advance the wine industry in Virginia.
The winery has used comfy furniture groupings, seated tastings, natural colors and a great design esthetic to capture a warm and cozy feeling in their tasting room, with the sort of locally-sourced, small plate menu that has you deliberating so long your stomach starts to growl. Through their “Best of Virginia" wine program, they've curated a spot-on list of some of Virginia's best wines-of-the-moment to flesh out their own growing inventory.
Outside, Adirondack chairs, fire pits capture the feeling of a lodge in winter; warm weather seasons bring their own toys to make long-traveling visitors feel like there's no rush -- nowhere to be.
Ben Jordan helms the winemaking operation, with a solid resume' from both California and Virginia, including the highly respected Michael Shaps Winery in Charlottesville. At this writing, Jordan's core wines are a popular Rosé, Five Forks (white blend), Foothills (red blend) plus award-winning Chardonnays and red blends Eluvium (Merlot based) and Novum (Cabernet Franc-based).
Early Mountain presents a full calendar of music and special events, including their signature events: Oyster Festivals in the spring and fall, and Deck the Halls, featuring local vendors on the first Saturday after Thanksgiving.
Weddings and parties of all sizes are welcome here; Early Mountain has among the most (and most lovely) event space available in Virginia Wine Country, along with a cute Guest Cottage which can be rented separately.
For the full story of how Early Mountain came to be, see this excellent article by Megan J. Headley of C-ville.com.
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