The romantic relationship we have with Chateau Morrisette winery on the Blue Ridge Parkway goes back to a motorcycle trip many years ago. Tired and hungry from a long day on the lower Virginia section of the Blue Ridge Parkway, we stumbled in looking for a bite to eat only to find the kitchen had just stopped serving for lunch. Our disappointment must have radiated as the chef emerged from the kitchen, took one look at us, and said, I’ll take care of them”.
We were seated on the beautiful mediterranean style porch with it’s panoramic views of the rolling Virginia countryside. A short time later sandwiches arrived at the table and we devoured one of the best meals we’d had in days. I remember a delicious portabello mushroom on crustini bread draped in a melted cheese which we accompanied by a glass of Black Dog Red wine and knew we’d found a heavenly oasis. I’ve never missed a chance to stop at the Chateau Morrisette since nor ever been disappointed.
Over the years, the winery has grown in size and reputation. In times past it was one of the few landmarks you could easily identify from the Blue Ridge Parkway. Far out across one of those idyllic mountain farm fields, a long low series of signs spelled out the name of the winery in large letters. Gone now, the only way to find it is to know where it is and watch for it. Success has meant one of the few advertisements along the Blue Ridge Parkway is no longer needed, and the parkway ethic is enhanced by it’s absence.
While the restaurant remains much as I remember it, the new building at the vinyard is now the hub of activity. The regal architecture hosts the tasting room, gift shop, and is the sales outlet for the wines. The terrace outside is the gathering and resting place where patrons sit and enjoy their glasses of local vintage to the accompaniment of snacks and often live entertainment.
On a weekend visit you’re happy to be on a motorcycle where you can slip into corners in the crowded parking lot. There are frequent events, a stage on the beautiful grounds for concerts and such, it seems there’s always something going on at this popular destination.