Saturday, January 28, 2012









we would love to share more local information with you.

Virginia’s Chateau Morrisette pours out profits

Chateau Morrisette Winery – Corey Mann & Taylor Kelly
Find this article in the New River Voice here. It was written By Corey Mann and Taylor Kelly
New River Voice correspondents
The constant hum of a grape press isn’t just a soothing noise in the background for
customer to enjoy; it’s a constant reminder of the hard work David Morrisette has put
in to create the biggest winery in the New River Valley.The family-owned winery started
in the mid ’70s in a blasted underground cave. By 1981 it had evolved into a full-scale
winery, restaurant and gift shop known as Chateau Morrisette. The Floyd County tourist
destination, just off the Blue Ridge Parkway, is now one of the most profitable wineries
in all of Virginia.Morrisette met Bob Burgin, now vice president of the winery, when they
were two of three enology majors at Mississippi State. They graduated just before the
program closed down. “We went our separate ways, and when I realized I shouldn’t be
the wine maker because I was terrible at it, he came in and took over,” Morrisette said.
“I should have been doing other things, like marketing.”Chateau Morrisette produces and
ships 15 different wines that are sold throughout the commonwealth and along the East
Coast, including North Carolina, Maryland, Tennessee and West Virginia. With 70,000
cases and more than 100,000 customers each year, the winery is flourishing. October is
by far the best month for sales, as the fall season brings in much more business than
the winter.
It wasn’t always smooth sailing. “We put it up for sale three times during the ’80s, and
even now it’s a tough market. It’s hard for all the wineries right now.” The family has
learned from experience. “In 1987 the temperature was 35 degrees below, and we had
all our grapes grown here in Floyd. Needless to say we lost 100 percent of our grapes.
That’s when we decided we needed to grow them in different areas around the state.”
Through trial and error, Morrisette has found better locations. “Different grapes grow
better in different microclimates. The grapes are brought in 24 hours a day by refrigerated
tractor-trailers.”They have grapes growing in Northern Virginia, Charlottesville, the
Shenandoah Valley, Patrick County and anywhere from 10 minutes away to five hours away.
No matter where the grapes are grown, every last one is shipped through the mountains
to the beautiful winery in Floyd to be pressed and used.
With their Sweet Mountain Laurel and Red Mountain Laurel dessert-style wines flying off
 the shelves, most profits come from grocery chains. “Walmart, Sam’s, Kroger, whatever
grocery chain. But Kroger was the main chain that helped us get our foothold,” he said.
“It’s nice because now Walmart is pushing to have regional products in their stores, from
wine to apples, pears, local beef — anything local you can put in there.”
Gov. Bob McDonnell has made a big push to promote Virginia wineries, in contrast with
some past governors who never served Virginia wines at the Governor’s Mansion. In this
economy, the governor isn’t the only one pulling for the wine industry. According to the
Virginia Wine Marketing Office, sales of Virginia wine reached an all-time high in 2011,
with more than 462,000 cases sold. The office reported that it was an 11 percent increase
over 2010, making the commonwealth the nation’s fifth largest wine producer.
Suzette Miller, one of 85 current employees in Floyd, had nothing but great things to say
about the winery. Her job consists of greeting customers, taking them through the wine-
tasting process, giving tours of the production facilities, and sharing interesting facts.
She was the ultimate guide. Miller was an intern who just couldn’t leave. “I can’t express
how much I enjoy working here and being apart of this winery, giving to the Service Dogs
has really won me over.”Miller is referring to Chateau Morrisette’s community involvement.
It is known for its support of “Dogs 4 A Cause,” one of many service dog organizations
Chateau Morrisette supports. Profits from Liberty and Independence wines benefit St. Francis
Service Dogs. “The money pays for the dog as well as the training to serve as a service dog,
” Miller explained. They also give to “For the Love of Dogs,” which benefits the research for
EPI, Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency, a disease in which a dog has the inability to digest
food due to a lack of pancreatic digestive enzymes.The black labrador, or “Black Dog,”
featured on a number of the wines at Chateau Morrisette, has been a symbol of the winery
for more than 25 years. Winery? Black lab? Where’s the connection? While Morrisette was
growing up, he was the proud owner of a black lab named Hans. When Morrisette took over
the winery, Hans could always be found snooping around, as he had a fine taste for a special
Trilogy was Hans’ favorite wine, an off-dry wine with a blend of cabernet, chambourcin and
merlot. Though Hans could always be found slurping up a freshly poured bowl of what is
now known as “The Black Dog,” he lived a long and loving life until he passed at the age of
15. Morrisette was so affected by Hans’ death that he decided to start the Black Dog marketing
strategy, showing his respect for the dog he loved. Little did he know, the strategy turned into
what is now one of only two wineries in Virginia that sells more than 50,000 cases of wine a year.
Chateau Morrisette has found its place in wine making and is doing extremely well on the East
Though Morrisette is grateful for all that the winery has accomplished, he’s considering expansion.
As of right now, they are working on exporting to China. Morrisette plans to visit Hong Kong to
start selling his wine there as well.It’s important to David, his seven children and four dogs to keep
the winery in the family. Even though his children are young, Morrisette can tell some are destined
to join the family business. “I know a couple of them are really interested in the winery. They’ll
definitely want to get involved when they’re older.”

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Oh!! that Blue Ridge Parkway

Put it on your bucket list and when you stop in Floyd County, mile marker 165 or 174 plan a stay at
Mountain Song Inn your views will just continue.

We've Added The Blue Ridge Parkway To Our Collection of Essential Park Guides

The Blue Ridge Parkway is a globally recognized icon of the American landscape.
Stretches of road elsewhere in the United States may indeed be spectacular, but nothing matches this manicured, uniquely uncommercialized, half a thousand mile thoroughfare through the lofty heart of America’s first frontier.
A Parkway vacation—tackling the entire route along the spine of the Southern Appalachians, from the southern end of Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina—is the quintessential experience of the Eastern mountains.
The winding, reduced-speed limit road is a relaxed motor trail among the airy ridges and mountaintops of Eastern America’s highest mountains. It’s an Appalachian Trail for cars, a singular experience, a dazzling juncture of earth and sky. The Parkway is a rarity—a road almost continually at the crest—a truly skyline traverse.
To read the this Essential Park Guide, click here.

Sunday, January 22, 2012


Are you shying away from staying at a B&B because you’re not sure what to expect?  Research shows that B&Bs and country inns are sorely misunderstood.  We’re here to explain why B&Bs are a better way to stay.  Younger travelers think B&Bs are for “oldies” and others believe the B in B&B stands for boutique or expensive. Let’s debunk some of those B&B myths and learn more about today’s B&B experience.

Today’s B&Bs are split with about half offering private tables for those who’d rather not eat breakfast with others and the other half serving family style so guests can meet one another.  Some innkeepers even serve breakfast in the room. And just to set the record straight, you won’t be eating Cheerios with the owner’s kids either, separate living quarters for the innkeepers and guests are standard at all B&Bs.

According to the Professional Association of Innkeepers International and’s innkeeper surveys, more than 97 percent of B&Bs offer private baths in some if not all rooms.  For those looking to economize on rates, a shared bath option is available in approximately 12 percent of B&Bs.

Actually, when you add up all the extras including complimentary breakfast, snacks, beverages, wi-fi, movies and parking, then compare prices to local hotels in your travel destination,  chances are you will find as much as a $175 per day savings.   We recently compared Boston B&Bs to hotels, and here’s what we found.  When the hotel’s higher rates were figured in, we realized a daily savings of $175 a day!

While every B&B has some romantic aspect to it, there are plenty of inns and B&Bs that specialize in other aspects of travel.  You’ll find that inns B&Bs are a better way to stay for families, business travelers, even those traveling with pets.

Recent surveys of innkeepers conducted by show that more than 91 percent of inns and B&Bs offer complimentary wi-fi connections.  Innkeepers throughout North America understand that guests travel with a full load of tech-items.  Many are adding iPod docking stations and power strips to rooms to allow plenty of wattage for powering up tech

Sunday, January 15, 2012


MOUNTAIN SONG INN IS LOCATED NEAR 4 of VIRGINIA'S WINERIES, A CIDERY, AND A MEADERY.  Make a weekend tour of all of them  and you get the Blue Ridge Parkway as a bonus.
Bring 2 other couples and you have your own built in party. Book now at

Virginia Named One of the 10 Best Wine Travel Destinations of 2012 by Wine Enthusiast

– Commonwealth Joins World's Top Wine Regions in Prestigious Listing –
RICHMOND, Va. (January 4, 2012) Wine Enthusiast Magazine has named Virginia as one of the 10 best wine travel destinations for 2012. The article, listed online and in the February issue of Wine Enthusiast Magazine, highlights Virginia as one of only three domestic destinations to make the list of wine regions that are ideal for wine lovers to visit in 2012. Virginia was named along with regions in Italy, New Zealand, Spain, Hungary, Germany, France, Chile and two regions in California. The article cites Virginia's rich history, natural beauty and wine makers as some of the many reasons why Virginia is a hot wine travel destination. Virginia is home to more than 200 wineries statewide.
"Virginia is in excellent company in this list of Wine Enthusiast's 10 best wine travel destinations for 2012, and I applaud our wineries and wine makers on this achievement," said Governor Bob McDonnell. "We are well on our way to being recognized as the premiere wine destination of the East Coast, which is one of my administration's top agricultural and tourism priorities. I have great confidence that this article will bring even more tourists to visit our wineries across the state and continue to build our reputation as the ideal travel destination for people who love to try new wines."
Raising the profile of Virginia wines and wine tourism are key components of the governor's economic development and jobs creation initiatives. The governor has promoted Virginia wines at the Virginia Executive Mansion and throughout Virginia, on domestic business recruitment visits, and on international trade and marketing missions to Great Britain, China, South Korea, Israel and India. First Lady Maureen McDonnell has also incorporated wine and wine tourism promotions into her First Lady Initiative Team Effort or FLITE. More domestic and international promotions are planned for 2012.
"Virginia's vibrant wineries and talented wine makers are becoming less of an insider's secret. Indeed, the word is getting out that some amazing, well-balanced, old-world styled wines are being made right here in the Commonwealth. With our history, beautiful scenery, and ability to create world class wines, Virginia deserves to be recognized alongside the other amazing international wine regions listed in Wine Enthusiast," said Todd P. Haymore, Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry.
According to the article on, Wine Enthusiast Magazine states, "Historically significant sites, picturesque pastoral landscapes, elegant equestrians and affable winemakers set Virginia apart as an excellent wine destination on the East Coast. With six AVAs and nearly 200 wineries to explore in every part of the state, a comprehensive visit is nearly impossible."
"The fact that Virginia has wineries in every region of the Commonwealth sets us apart as a wine travel destination," said Alisa Bailey, president and CEO of the Virginia Tourism Corporation. "Where else in the world can you enjoy bluegrass music at a winery, kayak to a winery, taste local wines at a national park, sip local wines at a National Historic Landmark or bike from winery to winery? All those experiences are found in Virginia."
Tourism is an instant revenue generator for Virginia. In 2010 tourism generated $19 billion in revenue, supported over 204,000 jobs and provided $1.3 billion in state and local taxes. It is estimated that approximately one million people include a visit to a Virginia winery while visiting the state. Sales of Virginia wine reached a record high in fiscal year 2011 with more than 462,000 cases sold. This figure marked a sales increase of more than 11 percent over the previous fiscal year. Virginia is now the nation's fifth largest wine producer and seventh largest wine grape producer. According to the most recent economic impact study, the Virginia wine industry employs approximately 3,000 people and contributes almost $350 million to the Virginia economy on an annual basis. The study reflected the impact of 120 wineries in 2005; today, there are more than 200 farm wineries in the state. A new economic impact study will be released in 2012.
Visit to learn more about wine travel in Virginia or call 1-800-VISITVA to request a free, Virginia is for Lovers Travel guide. To learn more about Virginia's wineries including wine varietals and special events, or to request a 2012 Virginia Wine Guide, go to
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Saturday, January 7, 2012


Out of the 12 Reason on the Bed and Breakfast Associations latest  blog 8 are available right here in Floyd County.
How about making your New Year's resolution to visit us, we are accepting reservations for all of 2012
at We are small and beautiful and fill up fast, especially in July, October and November.
Hope to see you.

12 Reasons to Visit Virginia in 2012

“The country is not mountanous not yet low but such pleasant plaine hils and fertile valleyes, one prettily crossing an other, and watered so conveniently with their sweete brookes and christall springs, as if art itself had devised them.” –Captain John Smith, “A Map of Virginia”
Why should you visit (or re-visit) Virginia? The reasons could quickly conglomerate into a great novel that would require hours of your time to read. Since neither you nor your humble blogger has the time to compose and study a novel of such great proportions, enjoy another of our increasingly well-loved BBAV lists.
12 Reasons to Visit Virginia in 2012:
  1. The historical sites. Virginia has Jamestown/Yorktown, Monticello, Montpelier, and a vast number of other sites that explore our rich history.
  2. The wineries, vineyards, and breweries.
  3. The amusement parks and theme parks.
  4. The state parks and hiking trails.
  5. The museums and exhibits.
  6. The theatres. (Did you know that Virginia boasts the only replica of Shakespeare’s Blackfriar Theatre? Yep, we do, and along that that theatre, there are many, many more scattered about the Commonwealth.)
  7. The scenic drives.
  8. The mountains.
  9. The family-friendly activities.
  10. The beaches.
  11. The shopping centersmalls, outlets, downtown boutiques, and locally-owned shops.
  12. The Bed and Breakfasts. What kind of association would we be if we didn’t highlight the wonderful businesses that comprise our organization? Virginia has some truly wonderful, individually unique bed and breakfasts, and no trip to and around Virginia would be complete without staying at one of them.