Chateau Morriesette Winery is on the Blue Ridge Parkway
By Pamela O’Meara
Chateau Morrisette is the largest winery in Virgina.
Did you know that Virginia is the fifth largest wine-producing state in the nation after California, New York, Washington and Oregon? In addition, Virginia was named one of the top 10 wine travel destinations for 2012 by Wine Enthusiast magazine.
Much of the wine is produced in the southwest part of the state near the Blue Ridge Parkway. This includes the French-style Chateau Morrisette Winery, which is about an hour from Roanoke and the largest winery in Virginia.
Pork tenderloin with succotash and collard greens is a specialty.
On my recent trip there, friends and I toured the wine-making facilities to see how the wine is made in huge steel tanks and aged in wooden barrels. Then we did a wine tasting of about 10 different wines, some red, some white, some fruity, and ranging from dry to sweet, including sweet mountain apple wine which I bought to take home because it was delicious and different.
Chateau Morriesette sells over 80,000 cases of wine a year of 23 uniquely different wines, including their signature wines of Our Dog Blue and Black Dog, based on the owner’s black labrador and the theme of making wine more friendly, not snobby, said general manager George Weldon.
The dining room faces the Blue Ridge Mountains.
The winery takes care in designing labels for the bottles, Weldon said, because.80 percent of all wine purchased is by women, often based on the label,
The winery’s large, wood-paneled dining room overlooking the mountains is a great place for lunch. For my relaxing lunch, I ordered cinnamon pork tenderloin with succotash and collard greens, and a duck egg roll, all delicious and unique, and served with wine, of course.
It’s not just the wine but also the spectacular view of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the food, along with special events that draw visitors. It’s also a popular site for weddings. Building a hotel is in the works, too. So if you’re in Roanoke, a trip along the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway south to Chateau Morriesette makes a great day trip.
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Chambourcin wine featuring the “Black Dog” label and a tasting glass
Chateau Morriesette Winery on the Blue Ridge Parkway
Duck egg rolls are unique in the chateau’s dining room.
Staff writer, Lillie Suburban newspapers
Member, Midwest Travel Writers Association
I’ve been a writer for over 20 years at Lillie Suburban Newspapers in St. Paul. I’ve also done free-lance writing – for 3M business and health publications and for a running club and a speech therapy group. My special interest and focus for over a decade has been travel writing – about my trips and those of others in the United States and abroad, and I am a 10-year member of Midwest Travel Writers Association. I have a bachelor’s degree in English from Northwestern University and a master’s degree in comparative literature from the University of Michigan. I was an English teacher for almost three years before having kids. Life is good!
Writing awards for Pam O’Meara
2015 Minnesota Newspaper Association -- Second place for columns on Selfridge’s in London, Missouri prison, mother’s death
2014 Midwest Travel writers Mark Twain – honorable mention for story on Hemingway in Pamplona, Spain
2013 MTWA – first place – recent travel sites – Fort Bragg and father
2008 MTWA – third place – newspaper story on Hawaii: the Big Island
2006—MTWA – second place – recent sites – South Korea – DMZ