The Black Dog Blog
Chateau Morrisette is among the oldest and largest wineries in Virginia. We also operate an award-winning restaurant with a 95% recommendation rate on OpenTable. With fresh vintages, flavors, and events at the winery, restaurant, vineyard, and festival field throughout the year, we will keep you abreast of all the great happenings and the people who make up Chateau Morrisette Winery and Restaurant in this blog and through our Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest sites.
Chateau Morrisette is the result of a love affair between the Morrisette family and the rural Virginia countryside. In 1978, I worked with my dad and mom, William and Nancy Morrisette to plant the first vines and the vision of Chateau Morrisette became a small reality. Mom stated in a news article back in 1988 that "the winery began as a hobby that soon got out of hand."
I'm a graduate of Mississippi State University’s first class in enology and viticulture. After graduation, I came home to Virginia and became Chateau Morrisette’s first official winemaker. In 1982, the first commercial wines were produced, a modest 2,000 gallons, under the Woolwine Winery label.
As production increased, so did my duties and responsibilities. Soon, additional winemakers were added to the staff to assist with increasing production work. Skilled and talented winemakers hired throughout our thirty plus year history continue to bring style and complexity to Chateau Morrisette wines and enhance our original vision.
It was many years before Chateau Morrisette saw black ink on its balance sheet. Wine production has increased rapidly each year and now surpasses 60,000 cases per year. Our exciting and consistent growth rate necessitated a new production facility. My family invested a great deal in expanding and modernizing all aspects of the winery and in 1999, we opened a new wine production facility and a spacious hospitality center. Blue Ridge Timberwrights constructed a unique building from salvaged timber from the St. Marie River to create one of the largest salvaged timber frame buildings in North America: 32,365 square feet with 135,000 board feet of Douglas fir recycled timbers. This one-of-a-kind building has given us room to grow.
Stainless steel tank capacity at Chateau Morrisette is approximately 130,000 gallons with an additional 50,000 gallon capacity in French, Hungarian and American oak. The winery currently produces around thirty different wines, a wine for every palate, and utilizes production from over 150 acres of vineyards either on site or from growers throughout the Commonwealth.
Chateau Morrisette remains an industry leader in quality wines and is located in a spectacular natural setting in rural Floyd County. From a ‘small reality,’ we are now one of the largest wineries in Virginia. Nationally, Virginia is ranked sixth in commercial grape production and grape bearing acreage. The Virginia Commercial Grape Statistical Report shows 4,120 tons produced from 1,730 bearing acres.
Our location on the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway has helped introduce thousands of visitors to premier Virginia wines. The restaurant and winery are open year round and special events are held throughout the year. Chateau Morrisette is both a relaxing and exciting experience for anyone who enjoys fine wine, good food and natural surroundings. It has become one of Southwest Virginia’s prime destinations.
PR Newswire Release
FLOYD, Va., Feb. 4, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Chateau Morrisette Winery, located at milepost 171.5 on Virginia's Blue Ridge Parkway, announces its most recent award-winning wines from the prestigious San Diego International Wine Competition and San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. The winery's 5 Red Grapes, Our Dog Blue, Nouveau Chien, Chambourcin and Archival 1 – all of which retail for under $20 a bottle – won awards.
At the 2015 San Diego International Wine Competition, Chateau Morrisette's 2012 5 Red Grapes (94 points) won best of class and platinum awards among hybrid reds, and our Dog Blue (95 points) won a platinum award. A platinum medal is given when all judges unanimously award the wine with a gold medal. Also, the 2013 Nouveau Chien (87 points) won a silver award.
"Chateau Morrissette struck a blow...with a platinum award and score of 94 points for its 2012 5 Red Grapes, a proprietary blend of Bordeaux grapes combined with the hybrid Chambourcin at $15. Virginia is coming up in the wine world and [Chateau] Morrissette is one reason for that," commented Robert Whitley, director of the San Diego International Wine Competition in Creators Syndicate Wine Talk.
At the 2015 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, three of the winery's signature wines received silver awards: 2012 Chambourcin, 2013 Nouveau Chien and Our Dog Blue. The 2012 Archival I received a bronze award. Considered the largest competition of American wines in the world, this year's San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition received over 6,300 wine entries, its highest number of wine entries to date.
"We are very pleased with how Chateau Morrisette winery continues to be recognized by experts and wine lovers alike for the exceptional wine we produce," said David Morrisette, president of the winery. "While we are well-known for our well-priced signature and orchard series wines, with our expert winemaker Brian Cheeseborough at the helm, our new blended and varietal wines are flourishing, too."
Chateau Morrisette has established retail distribution throughout Virginia, North Carolina, West Virginia, Tennessee, and Tianjin, China. In 2015, the winery is expanding distribution to most of the regions of Kentucky via Bottles and Barrels, a division of Kentucky Eagle, Inc., its newest distributor. The winery plans to increase production to 79,000 cases this year as well.
Chateau Morrisette wines are served at the winery's tasting room and the Restaurant at Chateau Morrisette and can be purchased at the winery, online at www.thedogs.com or at participating retailers.
About Chateau Morrisette
A picturesque day trip from Roanoke, Charlottesville, Blacksburg, Christiansburg or the Piedmont Triad or a great weekend away from Washington, D.C., Richmond, Hampton Roads, Raleigh/Durham, Charlotte, Knoxville or Charleston, W.V., Chateau Morrisette is located at Milepost 171.5 on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Floyd County, V.A. Wine tastings are $8 per person. For more information, visit www.thedogs.com, call (540) 593-2865, or follow us on Facebook.
The Winery the Dogs Built
The Morrisette family planted their first grape vines in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia near Floyd in 1978. There were no other working wineries in the State of Virginia at that time. Working in the basement of his home, David Morrisette produced the first commercial wine in 1982 with the help of his ever-trusty companion, Hans, a black Labrador Retriever that helped him graduate from Mississippi State University.
Hans stuck by David during planting, growing and harvest season, and was expert in lapping up any wine spillage during production. Hans was instrumental in encouraging the Morrisettes to persevere in their hobby-gone-wild venture by offering moral support, a warm muzzle and a friendly handshake through thick and thin. David wanted to de-mystify wine for the public and produced The Black Dog Wine in 1991 in honor of Hans. The wine label sported an original art design showing a black dog drinking out of a young lady’s wine glass.
The Black Dog Wine is a unique blend of Chambourcin, Cabernet, Merlot and Petit Verdot producing an exceptionally smooth semi-dry red wine. Its appealing spicy character and medium body enhance many dishes as well as light hors d’oeuvres. This wine is reasonably priced at around $11 per bottle and has become a favorite with customers because of its smoothness and value. “It’s obviously well bred!”
Hans also inspired the Chateau Morrisette crest: two dogs standing on their hind legs holding up a grape vine-adorned “M” shield. Other dogs have followed Hans and continue to uphold his high standards: Our Dog Blue, Blushing Dog, Frosty Dog are just a few.
Customers swarm to the web site: “thedogs.com” and often ask twice, thinking they have mis-heard. “Who doesn’t like dogs?” David says – they continue to play an integral part in the winery that welcomes novices and snobs alike in a friendly high-altitude setting.
You know you want to
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