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Chateau Morrisette


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.


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
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
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
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
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
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
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