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The Black Dog Blog

Chateau Morrisette is among the oldest and largest wineries in Virginia. The award-winning restaurant has a 95% recommendation rate on OpenTable. With fresh vintages, flavors, and events at the winery, restaurant, and vineyard, 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 social media pages Facebook and Instagram.


Keith Toler
February 17, 2016 | Keith Toler

Chateau Morrisette Announces 2016 Special Events

Located along Virginia's scenic Blue Ridge Parkway, Chateau Morrisette Wineryannounces its spring 2016 dining experiences at The Restaurant at Chateau Morrisette along with themed weekend events and open houses.

Considering a weekend getaway? Chateau Morrisette has partnered with a variety of local lodging partners to create exciting travel packages for every style and preference.

Spring 2016 Events

Chef's Dinner, March 19, 6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Seating is limited for a special Chef's Dinner at The Restaurant at Chateau Morrisette. Enjoy a multi-course meal featuring new spring menu items officially debuting in April, along with unique wine pairings for each course. Chef Cooper Brunk will introduce each course and discuss the wine pairings. The cost is $95 per person, inclusive. Call (540) 593-2865 for reservations; prepayment required.

Easter Service and Brunch, March 27, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Enjoy an informal, family-oriented Easter Service from 10 a.m. to 11a.m. in the Morrisette Ballroom followed by an Easter egg hunt on the lawn. Easter Sunday Brunch is a sumptuous buffet with stations for breakfast items, carved meats, chilled seafood and desserts. The cost is $29.99 per adult and $14.99 for kids ages 11 and under. For reservations, call (540) 593-2865.

Spring Open Houses and Wine Sale, April 23 – 24 and April 30 – May 1, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Celebrate spring with a visit during our annual open house weekends. Enjoy fantastic wines, food and Blue Ridge Mountain views along with special savings on wine purchases. All guests will enjoy complimentary wine tastings and other treats. 

Winemaker's Dinner, May 29, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Chateau Morrisette's annual Winemaker's Dinner at The Restaurant at Chateau Morrisette includes an exquisite multi-course meal and hand-selected wine pairings. The winery's Winemaker and Enologist, Brian Smyth, will be on hand to discuss wine pairings and new wines he is developing. The cost is $115 per person, inclusive. Call (540) 593-2865 for reservations; prepayment required.

Mountain Adventure Weekend and Plein Air Art Weekend, June 3 – 5
The winery's popular Mountain Adventure Weekend is full of outdoor fun and includes a wine reception and special wild game menu on Friday evening and all day Saturday. Planned adventures include a 5k trail run from the Winery through the vineyards, horseback riding through the vineyard, kayaking down the Little River in Floyd, and clay shooting in the Nancy Morrisette Field. Activities are à la carte – pay for only the adventures you reserve. Reservations and prepayment are required at (540) 593-2865.

Beginning on Thursday (June 2), invited artists will paint en plein air throughout the Chateau Morrisette grounds.  Sunday's finale features a Quickdraw Competition, with judging planned for noon and an art show during Sunday Sounds. To join as a plein air workshop participant, register with the Charlotte Fine Art Gallery at

Sunday Sounds, Each Sunday June 5 – October 30, 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Enjoy the perfect pairing of wine and free live music each Sunday in June through October in the winery's courtyard. The eclectic schedule of featured artists has an Americana focus with jazz every first Sunday.

Time Posted: Feb 17, 2016 at 9:35 AM Permalink to Chateau Morrisette Announces 2016 Special Events Permalink
Keith Toler
February 11, 2016 | Keith Toler

Valentine's Day Weekend at Chateau Morrisette

Natalie Faunce and Lindee Katdare, the hosts of Daytime Blue Ridge on WSLS TV 10 came to visit us at Chateau Morrisette to get a preview of the Puppy Love Dinner menu and the Wine and Chocolate pairing event this Valentine's Day Weekend.  The two sat down and sampled some of Chef Cooper Brunk's specialties and then enjoy a wine and chocolate pairing with our tasting host Robert Longo.  Check out the segment they aired on Daytime Blue Ridge this week.




Time Posted: Feb 11, 2016 at 11:56 AM Permalink to Valentine's Day Weekend at Chateau Morrisette Permalink
Keith Toler
December 17, 2015 | Keith Toler

National Public Radio Podcast Interview with David Morrisette

From the Journey's of Discovery webiste.  Listen to the Podcast by clicking here (PODCAST)

Here's the printed intro for the Podcast.

Chateau Morrisette is Virginia’s oldest winery is located on the Blue Ridge Parkway, 3,500 feet above sea level, an hour from Roanoke and two hours from Greensboro, North Carolina. When the Morrisette family opened their Floyd, Virginia winery in 1978, it was the only one in the state. Today there are more than 288 Virginia wineries, but the vast majority are small-lot boutique producers with total average annual production of less than 2,000 cases. At Chateau Morrissette, it was a long and painful road discovering the ideal grape varieties, and perfecting their wine processing but today they annually produce more than 75,000 cases with distribution to nine states and overseas to China. Morrisette produces a broad array of wines. A sampler of their reds include Pinot Noir to Petit Verdot, their sweet and blush includes Vin Gris and red and white Muscadine. Sweet fruit wines include cherry, blackberry, and apple. They offer a sparkling wine, and a range of whites from Chardonnay to Viognier. Come along and join David Morrisette as he shares  his family’s incredible wine making and grape growing journey, and their parallel evolution in to the culinary scene with their estate restaurant that has specialized in farm-to-table locally sourced, organic offerings since long before the hip-restaurant phrase became a trend.

Subscribe to the Lowell Thomas Award-winning travel podcast, Journeys of Discover with Tom Wilmer via: iTunes, NPR ONE,, and numerous other podcast sites.



Time Posted: Dec 17, 2015 at 7:54 AM Permalink to National Public Radio Podcast Interview with David Morrisette Permalink
Keith Toler
December 2, 2015 | Keith Toler

Chateau Morrisette in Good Hands!

by Karl H. Kazaks

FLOYD, VA – Chateau Morrisette stands tall in the Virginia wine industry, being both one of the largest producers in the commonwealth and one of its longest-standing. The winery took root in 1978 when David Morrisette and his parents Bill and Nancy planted vines on their estate here, adjacent to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Chateau Morrisette is just one of six active Virginia wineries founded before 1980.

After graduating from Mississippi State University’s first class in viticulture and enology in 1982, David made the winery’s first commercially available wines.

The winery makes dozens of wines and is distributed widely, a testament to the favor the winery’s products have found among consumers. The winery makes over 60,000 cases of wine annually, using fruit from its vineyards as well as from other growers in Virginia and North Carolina.

This year’s harvest at Chateau Morrisette is the first being helmed by Brian Smyth. “It’s been incredible,” Smyth said. “The ferments are all tasting great.” Smyth attributes the success of the vintage and the winery in general to the long-standing team in place at the winery, starting with David Morrisette and including the entire winemaking team. “It’s incredible that we’ve been able to retain this talent in southwest Virginia,” he said. “You could take any one of these guys or gals and put them in Napa, Bordeaux, the Barossa Valley and they’d be at the top of their game.”

Smyth knows something about foreign winemaking cultures, having earned his master’s degree in enology from Australia’s University of Adelaide, after spending a previous stint in the country working a harvest.

“The first time I went to Australia I didn’t know I’d go back,” he said.

Smyth, a North Carolina native, studied at Virginia Tech. While an undergraduate, he spent one summer at Keswick Vineyards, where he caught the wine bug. After graduation, he worked at some custom crush operations in Oregon. Then he decided to pursue his advances studies, choosing the University of Adelaide because he liked the practicality of the program.

The winery at Chateau Morrisette is impressive, housed in a 32,000 square foot timber frame building built with salvaged Douglas fir timbers. Its numerous stainless steel tanks have a combined capacity of approximately 130,000 gallons, and an additional 50,000 gallons can be kept in American and French oak barrels.

“It’s an absolutely incredible facility,” Smyth said. “Some of the equipment we have, it’s amazing.”

On the crush pad there are two bladder presses. Nearby is a refrigerated trailer, used to hold fruit prior to crush. The trailer helps both to facilitate the logistics of handling many tons of fruit as well as to help improve wine quality. Cooling white varieties out of the field, Smyth said, leads to “fewer phenolics and less astringency in the finished wine.” Inside, a cross-flow filter is used on all wines pre-bottling, something that’s especially important for the winery’s sweet wines.

When fermenting reds, Smyth likes to start pretty warm, to ensure a healthy yeast population. Once the ferment is going, he looks more at the rate of fermentation — shooting for an average of 2.5 Brix per day — rather than a set temperature. At that rate of fermentation, he knows the wines will have enough time on skins to get good extraction.

As for cold soaking, Smyth is experimenting with its affects. He separated one batch of Cabernet Franc into two tanks, one of which was cold soaked, one of which was not. “The color’s the same, but the taste is different,” Smyth said. When fermentation is complete, the lots will be blended together at pressing.

With its fast-ripening conditions, this year has been a good year for Virginia wine grape producers. Smyth credits the winery’s vineyard manager Steve Van Sutphin as well as the many growers the winery works with for producing high quality fruit. “They make my job easy,” he said.

Smyth then repeated his praise for his winemaking team, who during a rain-delay in harvest were preparing to filter the lees from a batch of cold-settled Niagara. “They make this place run.”

Here;s the link.


Time Posted: Dec 2, 2015 at 6:33 AM Permalink to Chateau Morrisette in Good Hands! Permalink
Keith Toler
November 5, 2015 | Keith Toler

Chateau Morrisette Winery and Restaurant names new Winemaker and new Executive Chef

FLOYD, Va., Nov. 4, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Chateau Morrisette Winery announces the appointment of Brian Smyth as Enologist and Winemaker and Cooper Brunk as Chef of the Restaurant at Chateau Morrisette.

With the winery since 2014, Smyth previously served as Assistant Winemaker. Prior to joining Chateau Morrisette, Smyth worked in Oregon, Australia, and Virginia with various wineries and vineyards. His Master of Enology degree is from University of Adelaide in Australia, where he focused on practical and technical winemaking and viticulture knowledge. His undergraduate degree in Interdisciplinary Biology and Environmental Studies is from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

Trained in classical French cuisine, Brunk's new restaurant menu features flavorful signature entrees, freshly harvested estate garden side dishes and local, organic items to round out the offering. After graduating at the top of his class at the Culinary School of the Rockies, Brunk has worked with fine restaurants in France, Colorado and Tennessee. A past "Best Menu" winner for the Flavors of Nashville competition, he is the author of a specialty cook book as well. Previously, he served as chef instructor, private chef and executive chef and was restaurant owner of Cooper's on Porter in Nashville. 

The Restaurant at Chateau Morrisette is featuring new menu items including a porcini crusted steak, Marseille style seafood bouillabaisse with crispy calamari garnish, and bacon wrapped stuffed trout with haricot vert and lemon beurre noisette. "Not only are some of our newest entrees prepared with Chateau Morrisette's award-winning wines, but they are created with unique wine pairings in mind, which enhance the flavor," added Brunk. Recently, the winery's Vin Gris and Chardonnay Reserve both received favorable reviews in Wine Advocate and Wine Enthusiast Review.

"We are excited for Brian to take on this new role, especially with his extensive knowledge of regional wines, technical prowess and diverse industry experience," said David Morrisette, President of Chateau Morrisette. "Likewise, Cooper's passion for French cuisine and his experience in the flourishing Nashville food scene make him well-suited to delight our discerning guests."

Time Posted: Nov 5, 2015 at 6:51 AM Permalink to Chateau Morrisette Winery and Restaurant names new Winemaker and new Executive Chef Permalink
Keith Toler
July 29, 2015 | Keith Toler

Sweet Mountain Apple and Blackberry receive high ratings

As seen on


88 • Chateau Morrisette NV Apple Wine, Virginia $10.99. Best Buy. 
Bright pale straw green color. Delicate, fruity aromas of baked pear, pear charlotte, crystalized sugar, and white kayo syrup with a bright, fruity medium-to-full body and a sleek, elegant, carefree finish with fruit tannins and no oak. (tasted on Jul-06-2015)


88 • Chateau Morrisette NV Apple & Blackberry Wine, Virginia $10.99. Best Buy. 
Bright medium burnt sienna color. Bright, fruity aromas of ripe raspberry, red flowers, and hints of the barnyard with a lively, fruity medium-to-full body and a silky, intricate, medium-long finish with fruit tannins and no oak. (tasted on Jul-06-2015)

Time Posted: Jul 29, 2015 at 11:39 AM Permalink to Sweet Mountain Apple and Blackberry receive high ratings Permalink
Keith Toler
July 8, 2015 | Keith Toler

Chateau Morrisette Wines receive great reviews from Wine Advocate

In June 2015,  Chateau Morrisette's 2013 Chardonnay Reserve and 2014 Vin Gris were reviewed by Wine Advocate.  Mark Squires reviewed them for Robert Parker's Wine Advocate and and scored the Chardonnay with 87 points and the Vin Gris with 88 points.  He said,

"The 2013 Chardonnay Reserve was aged for 10 months in a mixture of new (43%) and used (57%) oak, with 45% of the barrels being Hungarian in origin, 29% French and 26% American. Only about two­thirds of the barrels completed malolactic fermentation. It comes in at 13.3% alcohol. This shows fine focus and a little tension on the finish as well as reasonable mid­palate solidity. A bit oak­tinged, the wine mostly overcomes it and remains in good balance, crisp, tasty and lively, with a twang of acidity bouncing off the wood. It should hold a few years, but it will likely always be better when young and fresh, no matter how long it theoretically lasts. There were 335 cases produced." 

He had even better things to say about the Vin Gris,

"The 2014 Rosé is a blend of 67% Cabernet Franc, 32% Cabernet Sauvignon and 1% Petit Verdot. Correctly anticipating my (and no doubt others') question, the winery indicated that the 1% is simply due to a few baskets of Petit Verdot harvested the same day and thrown into the Cabernet Sauvignon bin. Produced with the saignée method, this is dry. Crisp and penetrating on the finish, this sunny pink has nice fruit that is well supported by its structure. Nicely textured, too, it should be a great pink this summer, with enough body and intensity to hold up to foods and fill that role as a red wine substitute. "

Both the 2013 Chardonnay Reserve and the 2014 Vin Gris are available for sale at Chateau Morrisette only.  Supplies are limited.  Visit the website to purchase the wine.  THEDOGS.COM

Time Posted: Jul 8, 2015 at 8:27 AM Permalink to Chateau Morrisette Wines receive great reviews from Wine Advocate Permalink Comments for Chateau Morrisette Wines receive great reviews from Wine Advocate Comments (1)
Ashley Gatchel
March 3, 2015 | Ashley Gatchel

Chateau Morrisette Winery Announces Spring 2015 Events

FLOYD, Va., March 4, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Located along Virginia's scenic Blue Ridge Parkway, Chateau Morrisette Wineryannounces its Spring 2015 events.

Back by popular demand are Mountain Adventure Weekend and live music in the courtyard on Sundays beginning in June. In addition, signature fine dining events include dinner with Guest Chef Paul Schroeder and the Annual Winemaker's Dinner with Brian Cheeseborough at the Restaurant at Chateau Morrisette.

Upcoming Events

Guest Chef Paul Schroeder, Friday, March 27 - Sunday, March 29, 2015
An award-winning chef from Sonoma, C.A., Paul Schroeder is well-known for preparing innovative rustic Mediterranean cuisine with fresh, local produce, rotisserie meats and seafood. His exclusive menu will be available Friday and Saturday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Restaurant at Chateau Morrisette. During these times, the restaurant will be serving Chef Schroeder's menu exclusively. Reservations are highly recommended and are currently available.

Spring Wine Sale Sunday, April 19 - Monday, May 4, 2015
The winery's Spring Wine Sale features 20% off bottles and 30% off cases online, by phone and at the winery.

Open Houses, Saturdays and Sundays, April 25 – 26 and May 2 – 3, 2015, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
The winery will host complimentary tastings for visitors during its Spring Open Houses.  In addition, Kennel Club Members will enjoy tastings and food throughout the winery including upstairs and in the cellar.

Annual Winemaker's Dinner, Sunday, May 24, 5 p.m. – 9 p.m.
At the Annual Winemaker's Dinner, Chateau Morrisette's award-winning winemaker and oenologist, Brian Cheeseborough, will be on hand to explain wine pairings, talk about his newest wines, and answer questions. Hosted at the Restaurant at Chateau Morrisette, this event is $95 per person inclusive of wine, food, tax and gratuity. The menu will be available 30 days before the event. Reservations are required and now being taken for this event.

Mountain Adventure Weekend, Friday – Sunday, June 5 – 7, 2015
The winery's annual Mountain Adventure Weekend offers outdoor fun for everyone – horseback riding through the vineyard, kayaking down the river, and hiking the scenic mountain terrain. Stay with the winery's lodging partners and enjoy sumptuous meals at the Restaurant at Chateau Morrisette. Reservations will be available beginning April 1, 2015.

Sunday Sounds Music Series, June 7 – October 25, 1 – 4 p.m.
Free Sunday music in the courtyard returns this summer and fall. Relax and enjoy our delicious wines while listening to a wide variety of music every week. New this year, jazz musicians will perform the first Sunday of every month. 

Mountains of Music Homecoming, Sunday, June 14, 2015, 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
The winery is proud to host a special Sunday Sounds event in the courtyard as part of the Mountains of Music Homecoming presented by the Crooked Road, Virginia's Heritage Music Trail. The event will feature the Sigmon Stringers, a three-generation bluegrass band from Newton, N.C.

About Chateau Morrisette
A fun day trip from Roanoke, Charlottesville, Blacksburg, Christiansburg or the Piedmont Triad or a great weekend away fromWashington, DC, 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,, call (540) 593-2865, or follow us on Facebook.

SOURCE Chateau Morrisette Winery


Time Posted: Mar 3, 2015 at 11:28 AM Permalink to Chateau Morrisette Winery Announces Spring 2015 Events Permalink
David Morrisette
February 13, 2015 | David Morrisette

A brief history of Chateau Morrisette

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.

Time Posted: Feb 13, 2015 at 8:09 PM Permalink to A brief history of Chateau Morrisette Permalink
Keith Toler
February 11, 2015 | Keith Toler

Press Release: Chateau Morrisette announces awards from California wine competitions

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 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, call (540) 593-2865, or follow us on Facebook. 


Time Posted: Feb 11, 2015 at 7:48 PM Permalink to Press Release:  Chateau Morrisette announces awards from California wine competitions Permalink
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