“THE WINERY THAT DOGS BUILT.”
One of the biggest and oldest wineries in Virginia is also located in the county I grew up in, Floyd County. Chateau Morrisette was founded by David Morrisette in 1980 and has grown immensely since then. Sitting on 13 acres of land the winery grows grapes for their Mountain Laurel wine and also boosts a high-end restaurant. The winery is a fixture for the Virginia Wine industry, this winery
sells an astonishing 70,000 cases a year, and that number continues to grow. Located off the Blue Ridge Parkway, it is a must-visit winery for both travelers and winos alike.
Check out the bottom of the page for detailed descriptions of my favorite wines!
Chateau’s estate is quite enormous in size and can be a little daunting to a new visitor! Included on the property is an up-scale restaurant that has fun coming up with new dishes to pair with their wines. I’ve never been to that restaurant though, so I can’t speak about it much other than that. The tasting building is a large 2-story, French style chateau. Chandeliers hang from the ceilings and the floor was laid out with beautiful stone tiles. Also, for those wanting to see the wine-making process and vineyards, the winery offers a couple of tours through the estate each day.
You’re always sure to be entertained during your visit; Chateau Morrisette hosts events year-round. When we went they were having a large jazz concert on a sunny, but cool Sunday afternoon. Dogs on leashes are very much welcomed. And almost everyone had brought their dog which made a good environment for socialization. A tip though, bring lawn chairs as tables are very limited and become occupied fast.
Yet, this winery does things a little different than every other winery I have been to, but don’t let that throw you off! For example: you have to buy tickets for tastings at a cash register located towards the entrance of the tasting building and then you proceed to the tasting bar where the pourer gathers a group. $8 gets you a tasting and for $10 you get to keep the glass (which they always are changing with new colors and designs!).
The tasting is ten wines but your pourer also includes additional tastings of their favorites (ours, Michelle, gave us about six more). The standard tasting is always changing and features a new dog from Floyd County Humane society that is up for adoption. Our tasting was called “Oreo’s Choice” and at the bottom of the list was his picture with the contact information to adopt him (I love that about Chateau).
Also weird about the winery is that after a tasting you select your wine bottles from the store front near the bar that you would like to purchase and you proceed to a register to pay for them. Normally, at other wineries, this is handled by the pourer after your tasting. I suspect they have this stream-lined way to deal with the mass amounts of visitors they receive. We were never waiting for too long, I hate lines and they do great combating them.
A bummer though, is that if you do not purchase a wine glass during your tasting you receive little plastic wine glasses to drink from (even if you purchase a bottle you receive these). I think this is also due to the large amount of people coming through and spreading out over the property, which might result in the wine glasses growing legs and walking away!
We always have such a good time visiting this famous and well-established winery. Stop by on any afternoon or check their calendar of events to plan something more special.
Chateau Winery has a wide array of wines, many of which I have always adored. When choosing Chateau Morrisette wine in the grocery store it is almost impossible for me to choose just one! Here are some of my favorites from our tastings.