Sunset Hills Vineyard, nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, produces award winning, 100% Virginia wines from our Amish restored, historic winery. From the planting of the first vines in 1999, Mike and Diane Canney, owners of Sunset Hills Vineyard, had a vision of making fine wine of the highest quality in a manner which was gentle on the land. That vision is reflected in the sustainable farming practices employed today.
Date Founded: 1999
Owner: Mike and Diane Canney
Winery Philosophy: Sunset Hills Vineyard produces award winning 100% Virginia wine.
The original Sunset Hills was a very large and beautiful farm that later became Reston Virginia. Diane and I used to work very long hours in office buildings in Reston, looking out over the scenic landscape, dreaming that one day we would have a beautiful farm like that. Years later, after searching to find the perfect place for our vineyards and winery, Diane and I bought our first farm. Each evening, we would watch the sun set over the Blue Ridge mountains, talking about what grapes to plant, where to plant them and how we would do whatever it took to maximize quality. In 1999, the first vineyard was planted and we needed a name. We knew it could only have the name of the farm we had admired years before. Today, many of our customers and friends enjoy our wines on the 150 yr old farm, and enjoy watching the sun set over mountains. Sunset Hills Vineyard has been the perfect name!
Winery Acreage: 78
Winery Production: 9,000 / 9L cases
Varietals Produced: Chardonnay, 6.8, Viognier 5.5, Cabernet Franc 12.5, Vidal 4.35, Cabernet Sauv 5.2, Petit Verdot 6.5 Merlot 5.9, Albarino 2, Petit Manseng 4.55, Sauv Blanc 1.5, Tannat 3.6, Muscat .1, Sangiovese 1.5, Chambourcin 8, Tarminete 4.
Winemaker: Corry Craighill
After graduating from UVA in 2011, it was Corry’s love of travel that first led her to the wine industry. She soon found herself working the harvest in far off places like New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, and France, with a few closer to home in Oregon and Virginia. She called both King Family and Blenheim Vineyards in Charlottesville home for a while, working harvests and spending time in the lab learning the ins and outs on winemaking, but it was her stretch in Oregon that showed her this wasn’t just a job, but a way of life. Although she’s been tempted by opportunities in Sonoma, CA, her desire to start her career as a winemaker in her home state of Virginia has kept her planted close to home. It excites her that Virginia is still in the early experimental phase of winemaking, and she really believes in the quality of wine that can be crafted here. She’s already experimenting in the cellar, and we can’t wait to see the fruits of her labor as they unfold in the future. If she’s not drinking a Virginia Chardonnay, you’ll most likely find her with a glass of Pinot Noir in her hand. When she’s not in the cellar, she’s likely out hiking, playing her cello or gone for a run.
Vineyard names: Sunset Hills (18 acres), 50 West (7 acres), Shenandoah Springs (23 acres), Sherman Ridge (13 acres), Catesby (17 acres). Age of the vines: 1 - 20 years
The 2016 growing hit a rain right at flowering, diminishing the fruit set of the vines. This may have decreased yield, but on the contrary helps with even and quick ripening. With a hot spell at the end it led to a very fruit forward wine with beautful tropical aromatics. 5 - 15 years old vines.
2017 Sunset Hills Viognier - 91 PTS - JS
"I love the generous peach and apricot character of this viognier, but it also has lovely freshness and a long, clean finish with some white-pepper complexity. Drink or hold." - James Suckling (October 2018), 91 pts
"The 2017 Viognier also has a dollop of Petit Manseng (5%). It was aged for seven months in neutral oak and comes in at 13.3% alcohol. This is mostly well done and very well executed. Elegant and delicate, it dances across the palate. It has a sprightly feel. It could, to be sure, use a bit more concentration, but it's irresistible for the moment and in its youth. - Mark Squires" - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Issue #237, June 2018), 87 pts