Chateau Morrisette, Virginia winery and restaurant, unveiled its newest drinks this past Labor Day Weekend. Nestled beautifully within the town of Floyd, Chateau Morrisette now serves a line of three hard ciders: Barrel-Aged, Cherry Ginger and Chai Spiced.
“While we are winemakers, we are also farmers,” explains Keith Toler, Director of Marketing at Chateau Morrisette. “We maintain a good relationship with other local farmers for both our winemaking endeavors and our restaurant.”
Chateau Morrisette Winery and Restaurant is known for its wines, dog-friendly grounds and event hosting, but after careful consideration and talk of expansion, the concept of a hard cider arose quickly.
“From a marketing standpoint, we recognized a trend for wines with a lower alcohol content,” Toler says. “Our ciders are made from apple wine at the base, and through the development process, we were able to bring that alcohol content down to 6.9 percent, providing customers with a low-alcohol alternative to our other fruit wines. Handcrafted ciders work really well for people who do not like the bitterness of beer, but do not want the higher alcohol content of wine.”
Also playing a large role in the cider development at Chateau Morrisette is Brian Smyth, winemaker and cider connoisseur. Smyth oversees the decisions and tasks such as fermentation, picking, and fruit harvest times–all key elements in the development of Chateau Morrisette’s ciders.
“We’ve been trying to develop the ciders here for about a year, so we’ve spent a long time on the ciders just to get them together,” says Smyth. “This run is mostly a trial run, so the volume is relatively small. We’ve made about 300 gallons of each of the three flavors.”
The three new ciders are currently offered exclusively at Chateau Morrisette. Tastings can be scheduled throughout the week in the winery’s tasting room. Tickets are $5 a person, and tastings are held at the bottom of the hour.
“We want to hear customer feedback and gauge future demand,” Toler said. “If well-received, then we will use our distribution network to bring the ciders to retail outlets throughout Virginia—and possibly beyond.”
For more information about Chateau Morrisette, wine tastings, cider tastings, directions, or events, visit www.thedogs.com.
Written by Emily McCaul