Owner(s): Zurschmeide Family
Winemaker: Scott Spelbring
Open to Public
Apr-Oct 11 to 6; Nov-Mar 11 to 5
18755 Foggy Bottom Road; Bluemont, Virginia 20135
Bluemont Vineyard Profile
Written by Brian—Apr 22, 2014
I recently published a list of wineries with great views and received a query from a reader asking “what about Bluemont?” So I vowed to get out there as soon as possible and I could not have picked a worse day. It was rainy and overcast, so the view was obscured. Nevertheless, I’m glad I made the trip, because the winery was a real find.
The drive takes you through the historic Village of Bluemont, which was established in 1731 along what later became the earliest operating American turnpike. After driving through the village, you will pass Great Country Farms and then turn right onto the vineyard property and then climb several hundred feet to the winery complex. (As a quick aside, I should point out that Bluemont has a strong affiliation with Great Country Farms and they frequently collaborate on events. The depiction of farm animals on the Bluemont labels is a testament to that association.)
The tasting room is perched on the hillside at an elevation of 951 feet overlooking the vineyards and farmland in the valley below. It’s a beautiful chateau-like building that opens into a deceptively spacious interior. There are two floors with multiple tasting bars, lots of little corners to explore, seating throughout and local handmade gift and home decor items dispersed throughout the building. Outside, there is covered seating on both levels and indoors you can find music most weekends and lite food is available from the kitchen.
The first vines planted at Bluemont were Norton, because they are a local varietal. But by the time the tasting room opened in 2007, most of the international varietals were represented in the vineyard. The winery produced 6200 cases in 2013 and enjoys a reputation as a producer of world-class wines.
Every effort has been made to produce the finest possible product at Bluemont. Experts from Virginia Tech were brought in to analyze the growing conditions and make the best recommendations. So there is great emphasis on terroir and the vineyards slope down from an elevation of 1100 feet, which seems ideal for drainage of excess water and cold air. In addition, Doug Fabbioli, owner of Fabbioli Cellars and one of the regional wine rockstars, is the consulting winemaker, which seems to increase Bluemont's likelihood of success.
Meanwhile at the tasting bar, I drew Christina as my wine steward. Her affiliation with the winery has been short, but she brings a love of wine to the task of pouring and she’d clearly done her homework about the Bluemont wines. She conducted the tasting in a well-ordered, but informal fashion and we had a great conversation about each of the offerings. She was concerned about being able to speak to all my questions, but I thought she did a fabulous job.
Oh the wines! Bluemont produces wine using most of the typical international varietals that you can find growing throughout the state. Of course there’s the Norton as well. All were very well made, but there are a few very special wines on the menu. The Farm Table White and Farm Table Red are the most popular overall. The white is a dry blend of Vidal Blanc, Petit Manseng and Chardonnay. It has crisp peach notes with a bit of citrus in the finish. The red is light and fruity with a bit of spice. Particularly for a someone new to red wines, I think this one is particularly approachable. Both were lovely and I totally understand the popularity.
I, on the other hand, had a couple different favorites. The Peach is a blend of Rkatsiteli and peach wines. Wow! That was unexpected. Of course, as you might imagine, there were distinct peach notes. The Rkatsiteli, however, added quite a bit of complexity to this very dry semi-fruit wine. It could be a sipping wine, but will do much better with something off the grill. The 2010 Merlot was my overall pick. It’s blended with just a bit of Cab Franc and Petit Verdot, but the amounts are too small to make it a legitimate Bordeaux blend. It had the typical cherry on the nose and palate, but without being too fruity. It had a bit of complexity and finish to write home about. Loved it!
So I still haven’t seen the view, but in the immortal words of Douglas McArthur, “I shall return.” In the mean time, even without seeing the fabled panorama, I can easily put Bluemont Vineyard in my top ten. Everything about my experience was first rate. The service, the knowledge of the staff and the wines put this winery in the upper tier. You should seriously check them out, but pick a better day than I did.