Cheers Check-in: Early Mountain Vineyards

Posted on April 7, 2014 by


Breathtaking views and distinctly Virginian wine. That’s what you’re missing if you haven’t been to Early Mountain Vineyards.

Early Mountain Vineyards has an abundance of delicious and complexly flavored wines that are distinctly Virginian, as well as a gorgeous property stretching over 300 acres, which makes for a great range of entertaining environments with event spaces ranging over 1,800 square feet. We recently sat down with Early Mountain’s Steve Monson, an Early Mountain Wine Maker, and Dave Kostelnik, General Manager, to find out more about the vineyard, the wine, and upcoming events.

We’ve noticed that you often feature other vineyards at your events that you host, as well as in your tasting room. Is this part of The Best of Virginia Program? How do you choose which vineyards to feature?

Steve Monson, Wine Maker: Our Best of Virginia program brings together a range of partners from across the state in an effort to elevate, celebrate, and champion the finest Virginia wine to consumers and the wine industry. We sought out and selected like-minded vineyards that share a passion for uplifting Virginia Wine on a larger scale as partners. The featured wines that we bring in are selected by our staff and winemaking team.

Part of our ethos is to celebrate Virginia wines, and we encourage our associates and staff to visit other vineyards, build relationships, and of course, taste their wines.

What has been your favorite/most successful event that you have hosted?

Dave Kostelnik, General Manager:Over the past two years, we have seen great success with our weekend live music, Sippin’ into Sunset, as well as larger scale events like our Oyster Festival. Our most recent Oyster Fest (which was held on March 8) is the first large scale event we throw each year, so that one always has great energy as it leads into a spring and summer full of outdoor programming.

What would you say is your most popular crisp white and your most decadent of reds?

Steve Monson, Wine Maker: Our two blocks of Pinot Gris are some of the best on our property. They each bring unique flavors to the final blend; one has a lot of fruit notes, and the other brings more complex sweet spices. Both retain acid very well in the vineyard and it carries through in the wine with mouthwatering acidity.

Our boldest reds come from our Block 10. The vines grow thick skinned and concentrated berries every year. Color from this block is almost black, and the wines show the richness we look for in red wine. Our Front Block blend is a bold and structured blend from this vineyard. Later in the year we will release our 2012 Merlot, which can certainly be described as decadent.

You have a beautiful view and a gorgeous, open venue and tasting room, but what would you say are the most exiting things that go on behind the scenes at the vineyard, in the barreling room?

Steve Monson, Wine Maker: The improvements we’ve made to the vineyards are most exciting to me. We are always striving for quality, ripeness, flavor, and sustainability. We experiment with new techniques and technology inside the winery, but our goal is always to get the best out of the grapes. All of our hard work would be in vain if we don’t have great grapes to begin with.

Describe Early Mountain’s wines in 10 words.

Steve Monson, Wine Maker: Wines that are inspired by Bordeaux but are distinctly Virginian.

What are some events folks can look forward to?

We have several entertaining events to look forward to at the Vineyard this Spring and Summer, ranging from the weekly Sippin’ into Sunset every Friday from 6 to 8 p.m., featuring live musical performances, to live music on weekends (1-4pm!).

You can always check the event calendar to see who will be playing.

On May 4th, Early Mountain will host the second annual BBQ Fest, so be sure to check the events page on the website for more details and tickets. They will have a traditional BBQ spread with all the fixin’s, and of course, Virginia wines.

We can also look forward to the outdoor movie series, “Sips & Cinema”, which will kick off Thursday, May 29th, and continue on the last Thursday of each month through September. Early Mountain will feature family-friendly throwback films, such as Pirates of the Caribbean and The Princess Bride. Tickets are $6 and include a bag of popcorn, but other refreshments and wine (of course) will be available for purchase. Tickets are available online for advance purchase, at the vineyard, or at the door, and all movies will begin at 8:30 pm.

Posted in: cheers