FLOYD (WSLS 10) - When it comes to the Virginia wine industry, the glass is half full. Virginia wine and cider sales reached a new record high as w
ine sales increased by 2 percent from last year and nearly 26 percent from five years ago.
Meanwhile, cider sales saw an impressive 200 percent growth within the last year.
Last year, Virginia wineries sold more than a half million cases; 10 percent of which were made at Chateau Morrisette.
Keith Toler, Director of Marketing at Chateau Morrisette says the trend reflected in their business.
"We also see growth here at Chateau Morrisette, so we knew we were part of that trend," Toler said.
Brian Smyth is behind all 29 flavors of wine there.
He said the Virginia wine industry has changed since he left the U.S. to train as a winemaker.
"When I left, there were just under 200 wineries. Now there is just under 300, which is a huge increase in just a short number of years," Smyth said.
He says with more competition, comes better wine and new opportunities to stand out.
"For us at Chateau Morrisette, that means that we are trying to diversify our products."
They have the capabilities, so he says it only made sense to start making one of the most in-demand drinks.
"The growth in the cider industry, as well as the craft beer industry, has just been explosive across the country," Toler said.
The cider business is doing so well in fact, that Chateau Morrisette has decided to incorporate it into their business. This weekend, they are launching their first line of cider.
The line includes three flavors, one regular and two inspired by current wines.
"You see what's happening right here in our region with new breweries coming in, new cideries coming in so we wanted to be part of that. We wanted to be part of that growth and part of that excitement. And that's why we decided to test the waters with ciders," Toler said.
We got an exclusive look at the first batch of ciderworks.
Ultimately, it will be up to the customers this weekend if these recipes will make the cut for mass distributions.
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