Sunset Hills Vineyard: Coming Soon! Fine Wines & Spectacular Sunsets

Hello Friends,

This past Saturday Dezel hopped back on one of his favorite and most frequented wine trails to visit a new winery that is on pace to open doors to the public in June of 2008. Located in western Loudoun County at the foot hills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Sunset Hills Vineyard is the latest winery to join the burgeoning Loudoun County wine trail. The winery is owned by Mike and Diane Canney who first planted vines in 1998. They are currently in the process of restoring an eye-catching 19th century barn on their historical and picturesque farm property into a charming and warm tasting room. From what was described, the tasting room is going to be beautiful … perhaps the perfect place to enjoy fine wines and spectacular sunsets.

Mike extracting barrel samples with the handy wine thief

I was on hand at Sunset Vineyards to attend their very first barrel tasting event. The event was hosted by Mike Canney, vineyard manager Ben Renshaw, and staff. Barrel tasting for me is all about the 3 E’s: enlightenment, entertainment, and education. This informative wine tasting event satisfied each. As we tasted the developing wines right out of the oak barrels, Mike and Ben did a great job of stepping everyone through the winemaking process, as well as describing Sunset Vineyard’s winemaking philosophy. Mike appears to put a lot of emphasis into his desire to produce flavorful, structured and harmonious wines, while Ben oversees vineyard duties and strives to deliver high quality fruit each year.

Ben explaining the winemaking process to eager tasters

During the tasting we sampled and evaluated Sunset Hill’s 2006 Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon from the barrel. The wines are in their developmental stages right now, but showing good progress. The color, aroma, concentration, and varietal characteristics were all there. As these wines mature they will improve, and some light blending may be exercised for added structure and complexity. We also tasted a lightly oaked Viognier that is developing well, and an expressive Late-Harvest Chardonnay, which should make for a tasty sweet ending. The barrel tasting drew a generous crowd and everyone was pleased with the wines sampled as well as the warm southern hospitality. While the 2006 reds were well received, even in their youthful stage, I hear the 2007 harvest is something to get excited about. I look forward to revisiting these wines I tasted when they are bottled and ripe for the picking.

Satisfying Sips & Spectacular Sunsets coming the Summer of 2008

Currently, Sunset Hills offers a flavorful Cabernet Sauvignon 2005, a Chardonnay 2006, and a Reserve Chardonnay 2006. For a young producer, Sunset Hills has already received medals for both of their Chardonnays at the 2007 Virginia Governors’ Cup Competition. For further winery information and to purchase their wines, visit their web site or give the winery a call at 703.725.3546. Besides the new tasting room, there are a number of exciting projects going on at Sunset Hills Vineyard to make it the perfect setting for enjoying your favorite glass of Sunset Hills wine while basking in the pastoral splendor and bountiful beauty of the Loudoun countryside.

  • Stay tuned friends, I have more local wine news to deliver!

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