People are at the heart of everything we do. From our winemaker and the crew that tends to each vine, to our chef and our team in the tasting room, we aim to provide a stellar experience
Ben Jordan, Winemaker
Ben Jordan oversees all aspects of winemaking, vineyards and production at Early Mountain. A native Virginian who began his winemaking career in Sonoma County, Ben previously held the position of GM and Winemaker with Michael Shaps Wineworks.
He brings to Early Mountain a philosophy representative of our mission to craft high quality wines that showcase a commitment to the vineyard and the expression of place. Ben works with his brother to run his family's vineyard in the Shenandoah Valley and makes an aromatized wine called War & Rust. Outside of the wine world, Ben enjoys spending time with his wife and two daughters. Ben is a graduate of Duke University and received his MFA from Carnegie Mellon University.
Dave Kostelnik, General Manager
Dave Kostelnik has been enamored with Virginia wine since relocating to the area almost two decades ago. He previously served as general manager of Charlottesville's specialty food store Feast, and understands the vibrant local food and wine landscape and its significance to Virginia.
Before entering the world of food and wine, Dave spent time in marketing and public relations for tech start-ups and financial companies in Silicon Valley and Manhattan. In his role at the vineyard, Dave's goal is to ensure that each visitor experiences top-notch Virginia wines in an exceptional atmosphere.
Who We Are
Jean Case, Owner
Jean Case, the Chairman of the National Geographic Society and CEO of the Case Impact Network and the Case Foundation, is a philanthropist, investor and internet and impact investing pioneer who is a passionate believer in the power of business to do good and advocates for the importance of embracing a more fearless approach to innovate and bring about transformational breakthroughs. Her career in the private sector, including as a senior executive at AOL, spanned nearly two decades before co-founding the Case Foundation in 1997.
A Virginia resident for 30 years, she has led a movement to showcase the best foods and wines from across the Commonwealth. She opened Early Mountain Vineyards in 2012 and since then the vineyard has elevated to one of the most celebrated in the state with recognitions from USA Today, Food & Wine Magazine, Wine Enthusiast and more.
Peter Hoehn, CEO
Born and educated in Switzerland, Peter Hoehn is a true world traveler. He’s managed hotels and resorts around the world for 30 years, from the Caribbean to California to Virginia, to North Carolina. Virginians, however, know Peter as a former executive at the Boar’s Head Inn in Charlottesville, where he fell in love with and promoted Virginia wines.
Having grown up near vineyards experiencing the magic that transforms delicate grape buds into complex wines, Peter is driven by a sense of purpose to advocate for the Virginia wine region and the beverage that fascinates him.
Maya Hood White, Winemaker & Viticulturist
With an excitement for environmentally low-impact viticulture, wine chemistry and sensory, Maya manages the vineyards at Early Mountain and leads wine production in the cellar.
Born in California, Maya has found a new love of wine in central Virginia. She earned an M.S. in Viticulture and Enology from U.C. Davis, with her research focusing on time-dependent sensory profiles and bubble nucleation of sparkling wine, as well as studies of Viognier wines from France, California and Virginia. She gained previous experience at several local boutique wineries around the state. Before getting into wine, Maya studied mathematics and engineering.
Aileen Sevier, VP Strategy & Marketing
Aileen combines her passion for wine with a love of business strategy and storytelling while overseeing marketing, sales and public relations for Early Mountain. She previously managed a global portfolio of iconic family-owned wineries at Terlato Wines International and directed the beverage program at Legal Sea Foods, a multi-unit restaurant group renowned for its wine program.
Aileen graduated with honors from Kenyon College with a BA in Anthropology and Asian Studies and Brandeis University’s International MBA program. She is currently a student in the prestigious Masters of Wine program. She loves to travel, especially now that her twin daughters, Elodie and Muriel, can come along for the adventure.
Tim Moore, Executive Chef
Tim oversees Early Mountain's culinary program, including our Tasting Room, catering and festival events. He brings the Virginia Table to life, reaping the benefits of living near local farmers and purveyors, while applying his classical technique to develop a modern and accessible menu.
After gaining kitchen experience in Richmond Tim knew his true calling was to become a professional chef. In 2012 Tim began working at The Inn at Little Washington where he acquired skills that fueled his passion and progressed steadily through the kitchen hierarchy. Tim drew inspiration from Chef O’Connell’s expertise as well as its focus on exceptional hospitality and was proud to be part of the team that gained two Michelin stars in 2016, 2017, as well as gaining the ultimate honor of a third star in the 2019 guide. Raised in the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains, Tim loves fishing and spending time outdoors with his family.
Melissa Rice, Director of Events
Melissa oversees the sales and execution of Events at Early Mountain, including weddings, private events and vineyard festivals. Having 14 years experience in the events space, Melissa was formerly with University of Virginia Darden School of Business and Farmington Country Club.
Born and raised in New York, Melissa attended University of the Arts in Philadelphia as a dance major, and has two of the best kids a mom could ask for. Tragically, she is allergic to red wine, but Melissa will never pass up a glass of Virginia bubbles!
Dustin Wade, Vineyard Manager
Dustin Wade joined Early Mountain Vineyards in 2012 as property manager and was promoted to Vineyard Manager in 2019 after years of hands on learning. Together with our Viticulturist Maya and the rest of our team, Dustin ensures every single one of our vines and grapes receive the utmost care.
When not in the vineyard, Dustin loves cheering on his favorite sports teams and learning to play golf. His desert island wine- definitely Riesling, especially if its German.
Jenna Ford, Director of Hospitality
Jenna oversees all the day-to-day operations in the Tasting Room with a focus on advancing the overall quality of service for guests. Jenna grew up in the restaurant industry locally - her father is a respected chef in the area and she began her service career at The Bavarian Chef as a young woman before joining Early Mountain in 2014.
A native of Madison County, Jenna has two spunky kids and a lively house where you're likely to find upbeat music or the latest Disney hit playing. When not in the tasting room at Early Mountain, Jenna enjoys cooking for her friends and family and treating them to home-baked sweets.
Jeremy Mersch, Assistant Winemaker
Jeremy’s path in wine began when working in fine dining restaurants during college and after a stint in healthcare administration. With a leap of faith, he joined Early Mountain as a harvest intern in 2017 and was drawn to the intense physicality and intensity of processing grapes into wine. He was hooked and progressed to Cellar Master and now Assistant Winemaker, learning along the way.
In the world of wine, Jeremy loves Virginia Petit Manseng and Pinot Noir from Burgundy and Oregon. His interests are vast and include baking, cooking, woodworking, and playing guitar.