Early Mountain Vineyards is one of the hidden gems in the Virginia wine industry. Early Mountain is owned by Steve Case, the former CEO of AOL. It is a major shock that Early Mountain isn’t a main attraction with their collection of great wines, rustic ambiance, adorable gift mart, and stellar food. This winery cuts no corners in giving you an amazing experience.
I felt like I stepped onto the set of “Reign” or “Game of Thrones” (which are two of my favorite TV shows). The sconces, stonework, and fireplaces gave a regal vibe as soon as you crossed the threshold. The tasting room was massive and had space on chairs and couches for well over one hundred people.
Since the tasting room feels more like a resort lobby than a typical tasting room, you totally want to check in and stay awhile. The back wall has floor-to-almost-ceiling windows that let in sunlight and give you a view of the vine. The space is so open that it was nice to cosy up by the fire and look out onto the property.
Early Mountain offers flights of wine from other Virginia wineries including Trump Winery’s Blanc de Blanc. The employees said they offer mixed tasting because their goal is to elevate the entire VA wine industry. I guess this is a form of not keeping your eggs in the same basket. This is a fairly rare strategy though not unique; Little Washington Winery also does a mixed tasting called the “Dirt Road Tasting.” I prefer to do a full flight, but they only offer a “Taste of Early Mountain,” which allows you to sample four of their seven wines.
At Early Mountain, you can have your tasting sitting or standing. The flights range from $14-$17 because you are served a 2 oz pour of each of your wines. This is a bold move because I often search for a dump bucket at other wineries. Thankfully, I didn’t run into an Early Mountain wine that I didn’t like, so a 8oz wine tasting gave us reason to sit and really enjoy our time. While you sip, there is a collection of board games and fantastic food to enjoy.
My favorite of Early Mountain’s wines was the Malbec Merlot Rose, because it reminded me of a watermelon Jolly Rancher. I’m not suggesting it will win any medals but occasionally I like to drink wine that tastes like candy.
Though my mom and I treated the logo like a rorschach test, the staff told us it’s actually a grape tendril. The staff at Early Mountain was on top of their game, and the service was excellent. They were all friendly, they answered all of our questions, and they cleared our empty glasses so quickly they’d barely touched the table.
Early Mountain is easily among my top five favorite wineries and has an interesting history. Early Mountain Vineyards gets its name from Lt. Joseph Early, who fought in the Revolutionary War and hosted General George Washington at his estate. It is truly dedicated to both Virginia wine and their guests. The terrace is dog and picnic friendly. If you are trying to pick a winery to visit this spring, I think you should put Early Mountain on the top of your ‘must visit’ list.