Jump Into A Veltliner! – Jump Mountain Vineyard
Jump Mountain Vineyard
Rockbridge Baths, VA
When you think of Virginia wine, some of the first wines that come to mind are warm-weather whites like Chardonnay and Viognier– grapes that enjoy the long, hot summers of Virginia. But up in the mountains in places like Rockbridge County, the weather can pose a problem since the last frost might not happen until May.
Such was the challenge for Mary and David Vermillion, who were winding down their careers at UVA and, emboldened by wine-making classes at Piedmont, were eyeing a mountainous piece of land for their retirement careers. Sure, there are well-known varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon that are hardy enough for the challenging environment, but sometimes the path less traveled can be more fun.
The couple started planting their first vines in 2008 and, by 2011, were bottling their wines. Using the mountains of Europe for inspiration, they planted high-altitude varietals like Austrian Gruner Veltliner, a beautifully slightly acidic white that is the perfect porch wine for a sultry Virginia afternoon. They also planted several northern Italian grapes (Refosco, Lagrein, and Sagrantino) that are blended into a smoky, slightly tannic wine named Livia. Livia draws its name from the wife of Augustus Caesar, who was enamored with the Refosco grape. The wine pairs nicely with duck and turkey, making it an excellent choice as your next go-to Thanksgiving wine. Thanks to the wine’s interesting backstory, a nice bottle lends itself to a great conversation starter in case things at the table aren’t going as planned.
“It’s a very personal operation,” says owner Mary Hughes.
That is evident everywhere, from their tasting room to their wine production. Where many larger wineries seem to be more event spaces than working vineyards, with everything from private parties to live music and rows of food trucks, Mary and David conduct all the tastings themselves in a very low-key, hands-on approach that is a celebration of their craft. They take the same approach to production, growing nearly all their own grapes with just a small number brought in from surrounding vineyards in Rockbridge – not from far away industrial farms and facilities – and process all the grapes on site themselves.
With limited production, these artisanal wines don’t yet have widespread distribution. If you’re taking a day trip along the Blue Ridge, you might be able to score a bottle or two in Staunton or Lexington and in multiple places in Charlottesville. Or, of course, you might just drop in to see Mary and David in person and let them help you find the perfect bottle – Saturdays and Sundays from 12:30-5:00, check their website (www.jumpwines.com) in case they’re doing mobile tastings at regional events.
Our Bestseller – Cabernet Sauvignon, Gruner Veltliner (Look for a special sparkling Gruner to be released in 2023!)
Visit Jump Mountain Vineyard at 1493 Walkers Creek Road, Rockbridge Baths, VA, 24473 (GPS can be unreliable) 540-348-6730