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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.


Brian Smyth
September 29, 2016 | Brian Smyth

Harvest 2016

Here at Chateau Morrisette, we are in the heart of our busy harvest season. The first grapes of 2016 were a small 2.5 ton lot of Chardonel from Patrick County. In the four weeks since then, we have received, processed, and are currently fermenting all of our Petit Manseng, Viognier, Traminette, Vidal Blanc, Niagara, Concord, and part of our Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Chambourcin. So far, we have worked with about 330 tons of grapes and there are plenty more on the way!

harvest 2016 part 1

As grapes ripen, the berries soften, sugar begins to accumulate at a faster pace, acidity begins to decrease, and flavor compounds develop. When deciding when to harvest a variety, we take these factors into consideration along with upcoming weather events and the logistics of organizing a picking crew and transportation of the grapes to the winery. However, when fruit is ripe, it is all hands on deck and we work quickly to ensure fruit is harvested at the optimal time.

harvest 2016 part 2

 When white varieties arrive at the winery, we chill, weigh, destem, and press the berries to a white settling tank. We then chill the juice to settle all of the solids to the bottom of the tank. Subsequently, we pump off the clarified juice, warm it, adjust nutrients and sugar content, and finally inoculate it with a yeast strain specifically selected for the variety. After a tank is inoculated, there is a short period before active fermentation called lag phase where yeast are reproducing to their full biomass. After this, the yeast begin to ferment and convert sugar to heat, carbon dioxide, and alcohol. We monitor the sugar decrease and temperature to help us make decisions to manage the fermentation rate.  Once sugar is depleted, the tank is considered wine and treated as such.

 Red varieties ripen in the same manner, but are generally ready to be harvested later than the whites. When they arrive, they are handled in a different manner than the white varieties. All of the color and much of the flavor in a red wine comes from the skins. Because of this, reds are only destemmed and crushed before the juice, skins, and seeds are pumped to a red fermentation tank.

After inoculation, heat and carbon dioxide produced by fermentation begins to push berries to the top of the fermenter forming what we call a cap. This cap holds heat and, in order to homogenize temperature and extract color and flavor, we pump fermenting must (juice containing skins, seeds, and stems) from the bottom of the tank over the top to break up the cap several times each day. The way we choose to manage pump-overs and the rate of fermentation helps to determine the final style of the wine.

When a red fermentation is dry, we will drain the free flowing wine from the tank. The skins that are left still contain a significant amount of wine, so they are dug out of the tank and transferred to one of our presses. The press fraction of the wine is either blended back to the free run or kept separate for another blend.


Time Posted: Sep 29, 2016 at 10:19 AM
Slade Mankins Executive Chef
September 19, 2016 | Slade Mankins Executive Chef

Dessert Menus Change Regularly

Chef Chelsea makes all of the desserts served in the restaurant.  I hand-craft each dessert using ingredients I acquire locally when ever possible.  Here is my latest dessert menu saying farewell to summer fruits and hello to autum color.  

Farewell Summer Sundae
Homestead Creamery Vanilla Ice Cream
Vanilla Bean Pickled Peaches • Blueberry Preserves
Gingered Whipped Cream • Caramel Croutons and Maraschino Muscadine

Brown Butter Blonde
Brown Butter Blonde with Blue Cheese Brown Sugar Crumble Muscadine, Fig and Walnut Conserve
Rosemary-Caramel Bisque
Sweet & Sour Floyd County Pears

Dark Chocolate Chess Bar
Dark Chocolate Chess Bar
Homestead Creamery Vanilla Ice Cream
Sea Salt & Cracked Black Pepper "Magic Shell"
Roasted White Chocolate
Balsamic "Raisinette" Bark

All selections are $8 per serving

The latest dessert offerings may always be viewed on the website:  DESSERT MENU

Time Posted: Sep 19, 2016 at 11:48 AM
Slade Mankins Executive Chef
September 19, 2016 | Slade Mankins Executive Chef

New Fall Menu at Chateau Morrisette Restaurant


The Culinary Team at Chateau Morrisette is proud to announce a new fall menu including estate grown produce as well as other regionally acquired meats, vegetables and herbs.  The two chefs, Mitch Sheppard and Ricky Caviness worked closely with the gardner, Matt Saunders, to determine late-summer and early fall plantings that could be used on the menu throughout the rest of the year.  We are all about the local and the fresh foods for our guests.  It's something we would like to be known for.

The menu is consistent throughout the day with the small plates and salads.  During lunch, there are a number of cafe style items available along with a selection of entrees served in lunch-time portions.  At night, the menu gets kicked up to a delicious fine-dining menu with a selection of beef, chicken, fish, and pasta.  Guests enjoy tablecloth service during the dinner hours.  And of course, each item on the menu includes a recommendation for a wine to try with that dish.

Here are a few examples of what you will find on the Chateau Morrisette Restaurant menu.  You can view the entire menu on the website by clicking here.  VIEW MENU


BURGER 8oz. house-ground beef patty, changes daily $13 Pair with The Black Dog®
CHICKEN Rosemary and thyme grilled chicken sandwich, with beer mustard, spinach, crispy onions, and gruyère on a pretzel roll $12 Pair with 2015 Vidal Blanc
BACON Candied house bacon, mixed lettuces, local tomatoes, and roasted pepper cheese spread on toasted wheat (MV) $13 Pair with 2015 Petit Manseng
QUICHE Changes daily. $12 Pair with Our Dog Blue®
MUSHROOMS Roasted mushrooms, fennel pepperonata, on naan topped with fontina and parmesan cheese (V) Omnivores may add salami $13 Pair with 2014 Nouveau Chien
TURKEY Black pepper and local honey roasted turkey, apple butter, house bacon, kitchen garden greens, caramelized shallots, and cheddar on toasted wheat. $12 Pair with 2014 Chardonnay
PORK Braised and smoked pulled pork, bread and butter pickles, southern slaw, fermented hot sauce, brioche bun $12 Pair with Sweet Mountain Apple


STEAK  Grilled ribeye of beef with buttermilk whipped yukons, wildflower honey and mustard roasted brussels sprouts, marrow jus (GF) 

$33  Pair with 2013 Merlot

SHRIMP AND GRITS  Wild-caught shrimp and grits, with tasso, andouille, and tomato pan sauce  $27  Pair with Our Dog Blue®

SCALLOPS  Seared sea scallops, roasted shallots and snap beans, estate Silverqueen corn risotto, preserved tomato chimichurri

$32  Pair with 2014 Chardonnay


Time Posted: Sep 19, 2016 at 11:27 AM
Shannon Atkins
September 7, 2016 | Shannon Atkins

Chateau Morrisette Winery Announces Fall and Winter 2016 Events

Fall and Winter Events

Sunday Sounds Music Series, Through October 30, 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Relax and savor a beautiful Sunday afternoon in the courtyard with free Americana-inspired music, award-winning Chateau Morrisette wines and majestic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The winery's eclectic performers include Melissa Mcsherry (September 25), Virginia Blue Band (October 2), Pat Anderson (October 9), Mac Traynham Duo (October 16) and Indian Run Stringband (October 30).

Harvest with the Dogs Vineyard Experience, September 24, two sessions
The Harvest with the Dogs Vineyard Experience is a fun, half-day, hands-on Chateau Morrisette grape harvesting experience. The event includes a viticulture overview, grape harvest and winemaking sessions, and a gourmet box lunch with wine in the vineyard. Included in the $70 per person admission fee are a free tasting, souvenir t-shirt and juice pressing. Reservations are required, and space is limited.

All October, All Week: Autumn Lunch 
During peak foliage season, enjoy the crisp mountain air and rich tapestry of fall colors while savoring an intimate brunch, lunch or dinner at the Restaurant at Chateau Morrisette. During October, the restaurant opens for lunch seven days a week: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday to Sunday. The restaurant's unique Appalachian-French Fusion menu blends traditional French fare with regional favorites, and fresh, local produce, meats and artisanal cheeses. Reservations are suggested.

Annual Chef's Dinner, November 12, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. 
The Restaurant at Chateau Morrisette culinary team presents a sumptuous multi-course menu to accompany the release of the winery's 2014 Chambourcin and 2014 Cabernet Franc. The Chef's Dinner menu and pricing will be available October 15.

Annual Christmas Tree Lighting, November 26, 4 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Join Chateau Morrisette's traditional Christmas Tree lighting in the winery courtyard. Enjoy festivities, hot drinks and picturesque mountain setting.

Black Dog Christmas Weekends, December 3, 4, 10 and 11, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
During the winery's highly-anticipated Black Dog Christmas Weekends, guests are welcomed with decked halls, complimentary tastings and up to 30 percent off wines as well as discounts on gift shop items. It's the perfect way to celebrate the holiday season and hand-select special gifts for family, friends and colleagues.

New Year's Eve Dinner, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.
An annual winery tradition, the New Year's Eve Dinner is a gourmand's delight featuring a multi-course meal and wine pairing. Menu, pricing and reservations are available December 10.

About Chateau Morrisette
Chateau Morrisette is 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. Wine tastings start at $8 per person. For more information, visit, call (540) 593-2865 or follow us on Facebook

via PRN Newswire

Time Posted: Sep 7, 2016 at 6:13 AM
Keith Toler
September 2, 2016 | Keith Toler

Chateau Morrisette Releases Three New Ciders Labor Day Weekend 2016


FLOYD (WSLS 10) – When it comes to the Virginia wine industry, the glass is half full. Virginia wine and cider sales reached a new record high as w [WINE] ine sales increased by 2 percent from last year and nearly 26 percent from five years ago.

Meanwhile, cider sales saw an impressive 200 percent growth within the last year.

Last year, Virginia wineries sold more than a half million cases; 10 percent of which were made at Chateau Morrisette.

Keith Toler, Director of Marketing at Chateau Morrisette says the trend reflected in their business.

“We also see growth here at Chateau Morrisette, so we knew we were part of that trend,” Toler said.

[Three new flavors of cider launch this weekend.]
Three new flavors of cider launch this weekend.

Brian Smyth is behind all 29 flavors of wine there.

He said the Virginia wine industry has changed since he left the U.S. to train as a winemaker.

“When I left, there were just under 200 wineries. Now there is just under 300, which is a huge increase in just a short number of years,” Smyth said.

He says with more competition, comes better wine and new opportunities to stand out.

“For us at Chateau Morrisette,  that means that we are trying to diversify our products.”

They have the capabilities, so he says it only made sense to start making one of the most in-demand drinks.

“The growth in the cider industry, as well as the craft beer industry, has just been explosive across the country,” Toler said.

The cider business is doing so well in fact, that Chateau Morrisette has decided to incorporate it into their business. This weekend, they are launching their first line of cider.

[CIDER] The line includes three flavors, one regular and two inspired by current wines.

“You see what’s happening right here in our region with new breweries coming in, new cideries coming in so we wanted to be part of that. We wanted to be part of that growth and part of that excitement. And that’s why we decided to test the waters with ciders,” Toler said.

We got an exclusive look at the first batch of ciderworks.

Ultimately, it will be up to the customers this weekend if these recipes will make the cut for mass distributions.

Time Posted: Sep 2, 2016 at 8:27 AM
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