Our Vineyards

Currently, we have more than 55 acres of vineyard, which includes estate plantings at Early Mountain and plantings at Quaker Run, a new site 14 miles north of the winery that holds great potential for high-quality fruit production. 

As part of our 2015 vineyard expansion, Early Mountain increased its acreage of classic Bordeaux-type varietals such as Cabernet Franc and Merlot and added new varietals including Malvasia Bianca, Sauvignon Blanc, and Tannat. 

Please explore our two vineyard sites below to see what grape varietals we're growing and how we're using them in our wine portfolio. 

Grape Varieties

Merlot

Merlot thrives in Virginia in part because it ripens early, producing sensuous wines characterized by ripe berry flavors. We grow Merlot both our vineyard sites. Our Merlot in Block 2 is specifically grown and harvested for our Rosé bringing a savory, herbal quality that is a hallmark of this wine. The Merlot from our front Block 10 goes into our Foothills red blend because it retains a freshness and fruit character without being overly structured and tannic - perfect for this charming wine. 


The Merlot in our Quaker Run Blocks 5 and 6 is used as an anchor for our Bordeaux-style wines, especially our Eluvium. It brings concentration and roundness to our wines, and we've found these Merlot grapes are very well suited to blending and are a nice counterpoint to Petit Verdot.

Locate This Grape Variety On The Map:

At Early Mountain, Merlot grapes are located on BLOCK 10 which sits between the Tasting Room and the Production Facility.

Chardonnay

Chardonnay is well-suited to Virginia's relatively mild weather and is a versatile grape that allows winemakers to craft it in a variety of styles. We use the Chardonnay from our main EMV vineyard in Blocks 2, 4 and 7 to make a delicious Chardonnay that retains the freshness, aromatics and energy of this fruit. We also blend in our Muscat clone Chardonnay from Quaker Run for its floral tones and bergamot flavors. This results in a lively, fresh wine that we are able to bottle and release early in the season. 


Our Chardonnay parcel at Quaker Run contains both older vines and younger ones. We're using the young vine parcel to start our sparkling wine program and are pleased with how these grapes retain the acidity needed for a quality blanc de blanc. 


We use our oldest Chardonnay vines for our Quaker Run vineyard designate wine. It's able to hang on the vine to develop ripe flavors while maintaining good acidity, making it very well-suited for extended barrel aging on the lees. These older vines are distinctive in Virginia producing fruit that has a deep concentration and intensity, and maintains the balance between ripeness and acidic structure.


Locate This Grape Variety On The Map:

We grow Chardonnay grapes in both our Early Mountain vineyard and up the road in our Quaker Run vineyard.

Malvasia Bianca

We planted one acre of this in 2015 very much in the spirit of experimentation. A highly aromatic grape, it’s something we’re having fun playing around with. Italians use this grape to make some interesting wines and we’re excited to see what it can do in Virginia. Blended with Sauvignon Blanc, we used to make a Pétillant Natural sparkling wine in 2016. Maybe you’ll see it in a Pet Nat again in 2017!

Locate This Grape Variety On The Map:

In 2015, we planted a few rows of Malvasia Bianca in the back of our Early Mountain vineyard.

Petit Manseng

We love Petit Manseng and are excited to see it becoming a more prominent grape in Virginia. It’s valuable to us because it’s a tough grape in the vineyard – it’s frost- and cold-tolerant, and resists mildew well. When the grapes survive well in this climate that means we can intervene less in the vineyard – which we like! We think Petit Manseng might even be better suited to Virginia than it’s original home of the Jura in France – at least for the production of dry wines. In our winemaking program, Petit Manseng is an integral part and foundation of our Five Forks white blend. We’re also making a 100% varietal dry Petit Manseng because we want to showcase the distinctiveness of this grape that is singular here in Virginia. 

Locate This Grape Variety On The Map:

Pinot Gris

We have two blocks of Pinot Gris planted in Block 1 and Block 9. The Pinot Gris in our Block 1 makes a classic, Virginia style of Pinot Gris that’s crisp, fresh and clean.

Our Block 9 is very special to us. We often say this is a great example of the right vines planted at the right site. This perfect match of vine and land results in a vineyard block that requires less intervention. This makes Block 9 is our most sustainable, nearly organic block. It produces fruit that can remain on the vine longer than normal and allows us to do longer aging on the lees to produce a nicely concentrated, textured wine with great acidity. 

Locate This Grape Variety On The Map:

Petit Verdot

We have a small amount of Petit Verdot planted at our Quaker Run site. Here in Virginia, we – like many winemakers – look to this grape to bring structure and deep character to age-able wines. In our winemaking program, we’re using Petit Verdot as the base note and to bring a darkness to our Novum red blend. 

Locate This Grape Variety On The Map:

Cabernet Franc

We have Cabernet Franc planted at both of our vineyard sites. We love the Cab Franc in our Block 10 at EMV because it allows us to make a fruity, charming wine that is our Foothills red blend. 


Elsewhere, we have younger blocks of Cab Franc that were just planted in 2015. We’re excited to integrate them into our red blending program when they fully come online this year. 


We use some of the Cab Franc from our Quaker Run vineyard as the base of our Novum red blend because it has nice ripeness and intensity. We also have plans to bottle some of this Quaker Run Cab Franc as a vineyard-designate wine in the near future. 

Locate This Grape Variety On The Map:

Cabernet Sauvignon

In our winemaking program, Cabernet Sauvignon serves a supporting role as a blending grape in small amounts. In Virginia, Cab Sauv requires the right site to really excell as it’s a later-ripening grape. 

Locate This Grape Variety On The Map:

Malbec

We grow a small amount of Malbec towards the back of our EMV vineyard. Used primarily for it's dark color and velvety fruit character, we integrate it as a blending component of our juicy, vibrant Rosé. As with our Rosé winemaking, we typically co-ferment our Malbec with Syrah.

Locate This Grape Variety On The Map:

Tannat

Virginia is seeing more plantings of Tannat, as it produces wine with great structure, bright acidity and deep character that makes for ageable wines. It’s a variety that’s well suited for blending and we are using it in our Novum red blend. Our Tannat is grown in a small parcel at our Quaker Run vineyard.

Locate This Grape Variety On The Map:

Sauvignon Blanc

We are enthusiastic about the place Sauvignon Blanc holds in our wine portfolio. We have a good portion planted in our Block 8 and have plans to plant more next season. Not only have we found it’s well suited to our place in Virginia, we know how much our guests like to enjoy this chilled, quaffable wine in the hot, humid summers of Virginia. It brings minerality and herbal flavors to our Five Forks wine, and is a beautiful counterpoint to the intensity of the Petit Manseng in this blend. With our Sauv Blanc program, we are aiming to create wine blends that rival the most serious ones in the world. 

Locate This Grape Variety On The Map: