Sugar Tree Inn

View of Jump Mountain from Jump Mountain Vineyard in Rockbridge Baths, Virginia

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A Day at Jump Mountain Vineyard

Last weekend, in honor of National Rosé Day and our first ever kid-free-weekend, we took a trip to Jump Mountain Vineyard to welcome the newest rosé to Rockbridge County. I’m going to warn you now, I’m a little bit of a fangirl for these guys. Yes, I even have the t-shirt. But after you’ve been there, I dare you not to fangirl or guy over them a little.

Jump Mountain Vineyard sign in red silhouette along country road

Jump Mountain Vineyard is situated in Rockbridge Baths at the base of Jump Mountain, approximately 18 miles from us. If you stand on our front porch you can see the tell-tale notch in the mountain across the Shenandoah Valley. You can get to Jump – we’re going to shorten the name for this post – two ways, both are lovely and both highlight Rockbridge County’s unique landscape features.

The first way to get to Jump is by way of Goshen Pass (Rt. 39), snake along one of Virginia’s beautiful scenic byways alongside the Maury River, hang a right on Walker’s Creek Road (Rt. 602) and follow the road until you see Jump’s sign on the left.

landscape view of blue ridge mountains along a country road in Rockbridge Baths, Virginia

The second way, which is usually the way we go, is by way of Hays Creek Road and includes a few more turns, but winds you through rolling farmlands and the sweet carriage town of Brownsburg. Go in one way and leave the other. Much like Jump’s wines, it’s hard to go wrong.

vintage red tractor in foreground with trellised grape vines and barn rooftop set against the mountains

So, what is it about Jump that I love so much?

First, I love their philosophy regarding winemaking. A rough quote from Mary and David, the makers, owners, workers, “We make what we like. You may not like it, and that’s okay.” What’s so inspiring and refreshing about this approach is that they make roughly four wines. They aren’t saying if you don’t like this one, we have plenty of other wines you may like. Nope. You may not like any of their wines, and you know what, that’s okay.

This philosophy resonates with me and Russ because it is how we run the Sugar Tree Inn. We are a rustic mountain retreat. We don’t have TV or WIFI. We aren’t elegant or fancy. And that’s okay. We’re clean, we have great food, and we work hard behind the scenes. We know what we are and we know what we’re not. And we’re okay with that, just like Mary and David are clear that their wines may not appeal to everyone.

Jump Mountain Vineyards gruner, LIVIA and Cabernet sauvignon wines

However, that being said, just last summer Jump was included in a wine round-up in C-ville Weddings.  The article highlighted “our local bounty” and included Jump’s Grüner and Cabernet Sauvignon as some of the best in Virginia. Here, here!

Wood siding barn in hillside

So, you pull up to Jump’s winery building which was designed and constructed to not only blend in with the agricultural surroundings but also take advantage of the site topography. The building makes it possible for Jump to utilize a gravity-based wine production method and provides a near-perfect climate-controlled cellar for aging. In a pre-COVID world, Mary and David would graciously provide tours of the building, but health and safety guidelines are a little more strict these days. Even so, most weekends Adirondack chairs are out and the bay doors are rolled up offering a perfect cross breeze while you taste the wines and enjoy the views.

Bottle of Jump Mountain Vineyard's Mountain Mist Rose with watercolor bucolic landscape label

Last weekend, I was a woman on a mission. I didn’t even pretend I wasn’t there for the rosé. I mean, I was also there for conversation with Mary and David – “Hey, guys!” – but I’ve been anticipating their rosé since Mary mentioned it was in production last year. And. Oh. My. Goodness. It did not disappoint. It was dry but had just the right amount of sweetness and complexity to it. It’s not blended with white wine. It wasn’t aged in stainless steel barrels. They use syrah grapes, macerate, rack, and ferment. Don’t ask me specifics and don’t ask me to describe the complexities, because I’ll have to pass you off to my husband. He’s better at noting and articulating flavor. I just drink it, people. And enjoy it. And enjoy Jump’s Mountain Mist Rosé, I did.

I’d also like to take a moment to highlight the rosé’s label, a representational landscape painting of Jump Mountain Vineyard by Andras Bality.  The label is a slight departure from Jump’s other labels, but it is equally stunning against the rosé.  It’s also a great story, so I’ll let Mary and David tell you.

Alright, let’s talk about Jump’s other wines.  Not everyone can be a crazy lady looking for her next rosé fix.

Rolling hillside with hay bales and tractor baling hay


Like whites? Try Jump’s Grüner Veltliner, an Austrian grape that makes a crisp wine. Not too sweet. Not too oaky. (I know, I should consider writing wine descriptions. Told you it wasn’t my forte.) Anyway, we’ve served it to many of our guests who’ve been pleasantly surprised by the new-to-them grape.

Hillside with trellised grape vines, cut hay, and large tree in foreground

Enjoy something heavier? Try Jump’s Cabernet Sauvignon. It has a nice body and ages really well. Case and point, Jump’s 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon won a silver in the 2017 Virginia Governor’s Cup.

Cluster of small green budding grape vines

Love trying new grape varieties? Taste Jump’s LIVIA. It is an Italian-style wine blending northern Italian grapes with Cab Franc. Definitely worth a sip, and ask David about the name while you’re sipping.

trellised grape vines on a hillside with a pick up truck on the background

And that’s it. Those are the four wines Jump Mountain Vineyard produces. They also grow them, harvest them, and bottle them, onsite. We always tell our guests that Jump may only make a few wines, but they focus on those wines and make them really well. And I’m happy to report that the Mountain Mist Rosé is no exception. We spent a wonderful afternoon at the vineyard, enjoyed the wine, the views, and the conversation, and brought a case back to the Inn so that we may share the wonders that are Jump Mountain Vineyard.

*End Fandom*

trellised grape vines on a hillside with a pick up truck on the background


If you find yourself out our way, or out Goshen Pass way on a weekend, we’d encourage you to stop by Jump and give them a try. Since the winery isn’t Mary and David’s full-time gig, you may want to call ahead (540-348-6730) or email, but they are usually at the farm most Saturdays and Sundays. Be sure to tell them we said HEY.

Stay safe, stay small, stay inn Logo in blue and dark khaki with house silhouette

And if you are looking for a relaxing place to unwind for the weekend, there’s this great Inn up the mountain. We’re looking forward to your stay! #staysafestaysmallstayinn

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