Vote! Virginia Wine Lover Magazine’s “Reader’s Choice” Voting Has Begun

August 12, 2013 § Leave a comment

Cast Your Vote for Sunset Hills Vineyard

The fourth annual “Best Of Readers’ Choice Awards” of Virginia Wine Lover Magazine is now upon us. The results of the balloting will appear in the Spring/Summer 2014 issue of Virginia Wine Lover Magazine.

 We’ve done phenomenally well in the past, and we’re hoping for the same this year!

These are the suggested BEST that our customers have been voting in the following categories:

Best Wine Categories:

Virginia Wine:  2010 Mosaic

Chardonnay :  2012 Chardonnay

Viognier:  2012 Viognier

Meritage:  2011 Sunset Red

White Wine:  2012 Viognier

Best Red Wine:  2010 Mosaic

Wine Bottle Artwork:  Merlot (Watercolor by local artist)


Best Wineries Category:

Best Winery:  Sunset Hills Vineyard

Best Winemaker:  Nate Walsh

Winery – Best View/Outdoor Space:  Sunset Hills Vineyard

Winery – Best Tasting Room:  Sunset Hills Vineyard

Winery – Best Food Offerings:  Sunset Hills Vineyard

Winery – Best Special Events:  Sunset Hills Vineyard

Winery – Best for Weddings:  Sunset Hills Vineyard

Winery – Best Tour:  Sunset Hills Vineyard

Winery – Most Romantic:  Sunset Hills Vineyard

Winery – Best Eco-friendly/Green:  Sunset Hills Vineyard 


Northern Region:

Best Winery – Northern Region:  Sunset Hills Vineyard

Best White Wine – Northern Region:  2012 Viognier

Best Red Wine – Northern Region:  2010 Mosaic





Onset of Ripening – 2013

August 5, 2013 § Leave a comment

August 5th, 2013

In the past few days we’ve seen the first signs of veraison in our vineyards.  While veraison is technically defined as “the change in color of berries,” what it really signifies is a transition in the vine from berry growth to berry ripening.  At this stage the vine will (should) cease growth of shoots and berries and focus its energy on just the clusters of berries, meaning that henceforth all focus is on ripening fruit.  This is when the weather becomes even more important.

Merlot cluster, mid-veraison.

Merlot cluster, mid-veraison.

Most of the vineyard work previous to this stage could be categorized as “preparation” – setting the stage for the most optimal ripening. We want nice canopies with plenty of airflow, appropriate yield, space between clusters, and healthy vines.  Winter pruning, shoot thinning, positioning, hedging, spraying, leaf removal, etc. – all of those activities are our attempt to set the stage best for ripening.  After veraison, as things begin to ripen, most of the vineyard work slows down, and we let the vines do their thing, so to speak.

Petit Verdot cluster, pre-veraison.  Both photos were taken on the same day.

Petit Verdot cluster, pre-veraison. Both photos were taken on the same day.


Does the onset of ripening give us an idea of when harvest will begin?  Somewhat.  But different varietals, clones, and vineyards all ripen at different speeds.  And then there’s the weather, which from here on out will have a drastic impact on the pace of ripening.  The more days we have like this past week – highs in the 80s, sunny, lows in the 60s – are perfect for slow, balanced ripening.  But who knows what will come….



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