Working long hours in high rise buildings in Reston Virginia, Mike and Dana Carrey would look out the window from their offices down to the scenic landscape of the original Sunset Hills Farm and dream of the day when they could have a farm just as beautiful. In 1999 they realized that dream and planted their first vineyard on their own Sunset Hills Farm, located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Today, along with winemaker Jason Burrus, Sunset Hills produces 9,000 cases of award winning 100% Virginia wines.
Sunset Hills’ Vineyards total 78 acres (32 hectares): Sunset Hills -18 acres, 50 West-7 acres, Shenandoah Springs-23 acres, Sherman Ridge-13 acres, and Catesby-17 acres. They grow Chardonnay, Viognier, Cabernet Franc, Vidal, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Merlot, Albarino, Petit Manseng, Sauvignon Blanc, Tannat, Muscat, Sangiovese, Chambourcin and Traminette using green technology and sustainable farming methods wherever possible. Sunset Hills is also notable for being the largest producer of solar power in Loudoun County: with its 245 solar panels Sunset Hills is quite literally “turning sunshine into wine”.
About the winemaker
A native of St. Louis, Missouri, Jason found his way to California after graduating with a BS degree in Biology from the University of Missouri-Columbia. At 21 years old he decided to pursue a career in winemaking and enrolled in the Master's degree program for Viticulture & Enology at UC Davis. He would go on to complete his degree and land stints at Robert Mondavi Winery and Carmenet Winery in the Sonoma Mountains. From there he continued to gain experience in the Central Valley where he made some of the most famous wine brands in the country. He was also instrumental in the development of bag-in-box technology popular today.
Soon after Jason traveled to the tiny Mediterranean island of Malta for a short, three month harvest job at the island's largest winery. This would turn into a three year assignment in the position of Enologist. There he transformed the winery's laboratory to state-of-the-art and developed procedures to address viticulture issues unique to the region such as saline irrigation water and exceptionally calcareous soil. While there, Jason also consulted in the Eastern European nation of Moldova where his insights into production methods offered ways to shape wine styles towards those popular in Western Europe and North America.
In 2006 Jason decided to take a chance on the up and coming region of Virginia, where he has been since. He has worked in winemaking and vineyard management roles in some of the region's most regarded wineries. Since 2014 he has been consulting and making wine in Maryland. He lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and two boys. 2021 marks his 24th year in the wine industry.