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Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard--Disappointed

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Sep 3rd, 2013, 07:50 AM
  #1
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Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard--Disappointed

After hiking the mountain (which was quite pleasant), a group of friends (4 dogs included) wanted to try out the Vineyard that we all had been wanting to try for a while now, and finally decided to do so this Labor Day weekend.

It was a hot day and we got to the vineyard a bit early after our hike only to be VERY rudely told that we could not park on the premises until opening at 12 PM. The website itself says to get there "early" so thinking we were a little early we would just wait in the lot and let the dogs out of the car, NOT so. We had to leave the property, so we went and picked up some food to bring back to the vineyard. I understand that there are certain laws about alcohol on the property and not allowing people until opening, which could have been conveyed to us in a much more calm/nicer way by the staff at the vineyard.

I was so turned off by the way we were treated in the parking lot before opening, and it didn't get any better from there. I felt like our whole group was being treated as a bunch of teenagers even though all of us were in our mid to late twenties. We all had to show IDs to get a wine glass (completely understandable) so we went in pairs so that the dogs would be covered. My friend and I went into the tasting room and asked for a glass each and showed IDs and the staff member rudely put out one glass and just walked away. Hello? There were two of us, can we get another glass?

We then tried and purchased the white sangria, which was quite good. After that we did a tasting which was $10 to try 8 wines, had to show IDs again (?). I wasn't that impressed with most of the list, give or take one or two. Bottles were around $20 each. The person doing our tasting was friendly enough, but I could tell he thought we weren't taking it seriously. Another staff member did come over and give us a bucket of ice water for the dogs, which was much appreciated.

Overall, the idea is great--bring your family, friends, and dogs to try some wine and then enjoy a picnic lunch and drink a bottle of wine. I was really excited to try it out, but came up quite disappointed about the way we were treated and it was a bit pricey. They seem to have quite a list of events, so maybe we will give it another shot in the future and will be more satisfied.
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Sep 3rd, 2013, 11:39 AM
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YOu don't really go to Maryland to visit vineyards IMO. NOt worth the time, but I like real wine. I wouldn't even bother myself. I went to a local wine festival once that had some from Virginia (another wanna-be wine state), and I thought they were terrible. I'm used to good wine, though, French and Spain are my favorites, and Australia or Chile, and New Zealand for Sauvignon Blanc. I don't even like Californian or Oregonian wine that well, but it's a million times better than Maryland. The climate just isn't right for wine here. And the wines from Va and Md aren't even cheap, they are more expensive than far superior wine from other countries like Chile or Spain.
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Sep 3rd, 2013, 11:55 AM
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Hey, acburton226, thanks for the review! It sucks to be treated poorly when you're having a nice outing.
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Sep 3rd, 2013, 12:51 PM
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Regardless of wine quality, it's appropriate to have good customer service if tastings are offered. I live in Indiana, a "non-wine state" but there is a lovely winery I enjoy visiting just for the ambiance, not for the overly sweet wines. Thankfully, we've got awesome microbreweries Three Floyds and Sun King for this beer drinker!
Ann Marie
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Sep 3rd, 2013, 03:57 PM
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"The climate just isn't right for wine here."

Christina, what Virginia wines have you tried? I was once a wine snob like you, thinking Virginia wines were beneath my wine-loving palate, but then I decided to learn more about the different varietals that do well in Virginia and investigate wines I had never heard of.

If you stick to chardonnay and pinot noir and expect them to taste like California, Oregon, Argentinian wines, you are likely to be disappointed. (I have tried some decent Virginia examples of those varietals but they do offer a different experience than wines from more well-known areas.)

Virginia

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/07/bu...anted=all&_r=0
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Sep 3rd, 2013, 04:15 PM
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"sorry"

...Virginia is becoming known for it's viogniers and there are some good Cab Francs too. I had a lovely dry Riesling a couple of weeks ago at a winery in Charlottesville. Break out of that wine snob rut, Christina and try a Michael Shaps viognier, a Rosemont cab franc, or a Jefferson dry Riesling.

I'm sorry you had such a bad experience, acburton226. You had such a lovely day planned. I'm not at all familiar with Maryland wines but I'd recommend you do what I do. I ask the people in the visitors' information centers to direct me to wineries they like.
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Sep 3rd, 2013, 06:23 PM
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Obviously Christina has not had Horton Vineyard's Viognier.

http://www.205food.com/wine_tasting_...nier-2011.html

Or any of the Monticello wines. Wonder why the White House State Dinners include VA wines...

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/all...se-dinner.html
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Sep 3rd, 2013, 06:41 PM
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Horton also makes a very good port.
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Sep 4th, 2013, 09:10 AM
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Sorry you had such a bad experience, acburton. I'm impressed that you're open minded enough to give them another try.
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Sep 4th, 2013, 10:09 AM
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I can't say I'm very experienced in the wine world, and only recently have really started to be adventurous and do tastings and such. But, as a resident of MD I thought it would be a fun outing for the day. So Christina, I didn't go to MD to try the wine (haha! that would be a bad trip idea for MD as there are so many other great things here to do!). I would definitely like to try some wineries in Virginia, thanks to everyone who posted more ideas!

They really do seem to have a ton of events at Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard, year round even and having a dog friendly venue is a plus in my book. I'd definitely like to try it again. I'll repost if I do end up going back!
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Sep 4th, 2013, 10:56 AM
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Ignore the snark from Christina.........she has a tendency to dis anything that does exactly match her likes and opinions. I live in California and can recommend some great wineries (despite Christina's dislike) in California and Oregon if you ever come out this way.

The best way to find wines you like~"good" wine is very subjective~is to conintue to be adventurous and open minded. You very well may find something YOU love in a very surprising place!
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Sep 4th, 2013, 10:59 AM
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should say does NOT exactly match........

signed tenthumbs, who has yet to learn to preview before submitting.
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Sep 4th, 2013, 07:52 PM
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Hi, tenthumbs! I'm heading to Sonoma so I would love to hear your suggestions. We're staying in Guerneville.
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Sep 5th, 2013, 01:51 PM
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I'm not terribly familiar with Guerneville, but I can give you an all-over-the-map list of my favorites!

www.franciscan.com in St Helena has a velvety can that had us swooning.

www.franciscoppolawinery.com In Geyserville; has lovely grounds, a museum with items from some of his movies, and has a wonderful sparking wine he developed for his daughter's wedding that tastes of honeysuckle and green apples.

www.mummnapa.com is in Rutherford along the Silverado Trail. I like that we actually got to do a tour in addition to the tasting.

www.pinanapavalley.com/ also on the Silverado Trail; I have not personally visited this winery, but it is a favorite of the friend who introduced me to "real" wine and rescued me from a life of drinking Boone's Farm and white zinfandel, so I feel confident recommending it on his behalf.
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Sep 5th, 2013, 01:55 PM
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There is a thread in the US forum tagged California entitled "The best Sonoma wineries you've never heard of" and I listed some of my favorites in Sonoma. I'd copy the link, but that skill somehow eludes me. There are some fabulous recommendations from several people on that thread!!

I also enjoyed www.sterlingvineyards.com in Calistoga, where a tram takes you to the top of a hill to the tasting room, giving beautiful views of the Napa Valley.
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