The son of a career naval officer completing his service in Washington D.C., Jon Hickox moved to Fairfax County, Virginia as a young boy in 1982. He always preferred to spend time outdoors hunting, fishing, camping and scouring the woods & fields for Civil War relics and Indian artifacts. Many summers and weekends were spent on a friend's family farm near Chantilly and through working on the farm and spending time outdoors, Jon developed a deep spiritual bond with the land and the people who lived and worked there. He was also deeply affected by witnessing firsthand the slow destruction of farmland associated with the rural crescent that encircles the DC metropolitan area. Through these combined experiences Jon has gained an appreciation and respect for the land, history, and people associated with this passing of "Olde Virginia."
While Jon is a relative newcomer to the wine industry the core components of business management, respect for history, and an understanding of agriculture are nothing new. In 1993 Jon graduated from Robinson High School and then attended George Mason University to study business, math, and history. While attending college, Jon worked as a project estimator for a remodeling firm where he would learn more about home construction, architecture, and the hard knocks of business. By his senior year in college he decided to start his own business and spent the next 16 years building his firm into one of the largest remodeling companies in Northern Virginia from the ground up. While attending George Mason University Jon met the love of his life, Kimberly, who was also a history major. In 2005 they got married and settled in Arlington, VA where they live today with their beautiful daughters, Delaney and Lilly, (who have wines named in their honor) and two dogs Hunter & Mosby.
In 2008, with the real estate market in full downturn, an opportunity to purchase a 21-acre farm at the edge of Fairfax County, perfectly nestled against the Manassas National Battlefield and Bull Run Creek, presented itself. Jon & Kim took a leap of faith and 4 years later (and with a lot of hard work and determination) the winery opened in June 2012.
Amongst a sea of urban landscape, The Winery at Bull Run is a working farm winery focused on crafting fine Virginia wines but it also is a tribute to the history and preservation of 19th century pastoral Fairfax County, taking us back to a much simpler time in our nation's history.
George joined The Winery at Bull Run in 2013 and is responsible for overseeing many aspects of the winery, including the tasting room managers and staff, grounds keeping, landscaping, construction, customer relations, wine production, human resources, and training. George is equally comfortable in event management and facilitation, and has extensive experience in large and small format functions regarding menu development, table décor, service and oversight. His expertise and attention to detail is evident in his work with military and national organizations for which he has coordinated major events. He studied Hotel and Restaurant Management at Paul Smith's College in New York, and has a rich and diverse background in the service industry, including Senior Vice President/Chief Operating Officer for Anton Airfood and supervision of operations and food and beverage services at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. George's favorite Bull Run wine is Reconciliation.
Dean Gruenburg arrived on the Virginia wine scene over seventeen years ago when he changed careers and founded Castle Gruen Vineyards and Winery which he owns and operates to date with his beloved wife, Jeanne. He has a true appreciation of all things wine and has worked in every dimension of the Virginia wine industry including 4 years as a board member with the Virginia Wineries Association and independent vineyard/winery consulting services. He worked for Prince Michel Winery in central Virginia starting as the Vineyard/Winery mechanic for three years then quickly rose to the role of General Manager at Prince Michel before transitioning to TWABR. At TWABR he oversees operations as well as consulting on Rock Mill vineyard operations. Dean is also our winemaker responsible for our Gold Medal Winning Peach wine.
Julie Harper joined The Winery at Bull Run in 2018 and consuls with clients looking to host weddings, corporate, and social events at the winery. Julie’s five years of event sales experience and planning from celebrity events to non-profit fundraisers helps her to effectively lead our event sales team. Her favorite part of the job is the personal relationship she creates with her clients and meeting new people. Listening to her clients' needs paired with her leadership and excellent customer service skills enable her to think outside the box to help achieve her clients' goals. Julie's favorite Bull Run wine is the Rosé.
Wayne Mills officially joined The Winery at Bull Run in 2014 after serving as a consultant of the winery throughout its construction. Wayne is responsible for overseeing the grounds and landscaping at the winery, growing grapes, and supervising ten workers in both of our vineyards. Wayne enjoys his ability to constantly grow and be challenged by the elements he encounters in his job. His previous experience includes 43 years growing plants, 40+ years in the nursery business in Northern Virginia, and running his own businesses for over 35 years. Wayne remains an owner of a Wholesale Nursery on his farm in Fauquier County, a consultant in the landscape, vineyard, and green roof industries, and the owner of Plant Patent #5577, a Dallas Fern that he developed in the 1980s. Wayne is a Certified Greenroof Professional and holds a Master’s Degree from the School of Life and Experiences, College of Hard Knocks. He is a member of the following professional organizations: Virginia Vineyards Association, Northern Virginia Nursery and Landscape Association, and the Virginia Nurseryman’s Association.
Ashton Lough started making wine for The Winery at Bull Run in 2012 and is responsible for all aspects of our winemaking. Ashton has worked as a winemaker since he graduated from the University of Georgia with degrees in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Throughout his career in the wine industry he has received numerous awards including best winemaker, four years in a row. He says it took him 43 years to figure out where his passion lies, and it’s in being a winemaker—“Making wine is the only job I’ve ever had in which I haven’t thought about doing something else.” Ashton’s favorite Bull Run wine is the Reconciliation.
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