Virginia Women in Wine Wednesday

Maya Hood White

The larger wine world is mostly dominated by men, but there are some amazing women in Virginia doing the damn thing. 

Every Wednesday I will feature a Virginia Woman Winemaker. They all graciously answered a few questions so be sure to follow along!

This week I bring you Maya Hood White, Associate Winemaker and Viticulturist at Early Mountain Vineyards.

1. What made you want to pick a career in such a male dominated industry?

I’ve always worked in more male dominated industries, so this aspect of wine growing and production did not feel overly out of the norm for me.  Curiosity is what led me to the wine industry.  I was always interested in wine, but never thought of it as something someone with my background could pursue as a career.  But after realizing the work I was doing at the time was not something I was overly interested in continuing, I wanted to get some experience working in a winery, found a harvest position and it escalated from there! 

2. What makes Virginia special to you in the wine industry?

Virginia is such an exciting region, in that while embracing tradition, it also offers creative and forward-thinking opportunities.  It is exciting to see momentum in distinctive sites being sought out and developed with the goal of making specific wines.  At Early Mountain we are lucky enough to work with many sites that embody this philosophy. 

Also, it is such a unique time for our industry as there is more attention being paid to the barriers many face to enter the wine industry.  It is becoming apparent that diversity in our industry is limited with current licensing, and hopefully, soon, we will see changes that allow for better representation of the dynamic wine world.  

3. What is your favorite wine you make and why? 

It is so hard to pick a favorite wine, I am fickle!  Overall I will say, I tend to gravitate towards the wines that are produced from our sites and blocks that require the least amount of input in the vineyard.  You can almost sense when a wine is forced to be something it should never be.  

I do love working with and growing Petit Manseng (used in EMV’s Five Forks blend, single Varietal Petit Manseng and Intention blend) and have also been surprised by how well Sauvignon Blanc does at Early Mountain, to the point we make a single varietal some vintages.  And of course the Cabernet Francs we work with throughout the state come from some really interesting sites and I always hold a special place for them.

A big thanks to Maya! Be sure to check back next week for my next feature. Until then, cheers! Paige