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.
We are working very hard to find the best solution for the opening of our tasting room in downtown Roanoke. We have run into delays and zoning issues with the city and do hope for a resolution soon. The current space leased may not work out for Chateau Morrisette but we will be opening a tasting room somewhere in downtown Roanoke. Our goal is to open a tasting room where we can provide the best service possible and give our guests the best experience possible.
Roanoke has been great to us for 40 years and there is no other location choice for our first offsite tasting room! We will keep everyone posted and thank you for your support.
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.
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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