Maybe you don’t think of Vancouver Island as “wine country,” but perhaps you should!
Pairing nicely with the romantic charm of many areas within Vancouver Island, wineries are in abundance. The Island sports a climate similar to famous wine-growing regions in northern Germany and France, turning out some equally impressive vinos. Among the 100 or so varietals found in the growing region, you’ll find Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Ortega, and some blackberry wines just to name a few.
Wine Regions of Vancouver Island
There are basically four regions of wine-making areas in Vancouver Island—Saanich Peninsula-South Island, Cowichan Valley, Central-Nanaimo and North Central. Most wineries are on the Saanich Peninsula or in the Cowichan Valley, along the eastern side of the Island.
In the Saanich Peninsula area, guests are always delighted with De Vine Vineyards, which is 20 minutes north of Victoria. Known for impressive views of the Strait of Georgia, the Gulf Islands, and Mount Baker, De Vine Vineyards also has quite an attractive tasting room. The six and a half acres of planted grapes include Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and Gruner Veltliner—a lovely Austrian white.
Also, noteworthy, and in the same region, is Parsell Vineyards opened in 2018 and is the first BC winery approved to sell wine in reusable bottles. The owner is Tilar J. Mazzeo, a New York Times bestselling author who also has a postgraduate degree in winemaking from the University of California at Davis. Her husband is a fourth-generation Vancouver Island native and farmer. Together this couple is a dynamic duo in the winemaking industry, growing Gamay Noir à Jus Blanc, Pinot Gris, and Ortego varietals.
In the Cowichan Valley, look for the amazing scenery, making the region well-known as the perfect place to tie the knot. An increasingly acclaimed wine region, visitors are wowed with breathtaking views, incredible hospitality, craft breweries, distilleries, and Canada’s only tea farm. Plan to visit the Farmers Market for local wares and fares including honey.
Blue Grouse Vineyards in the Cowichan Valley is a 31-acre winery which only grows European Vitis Vinifera, real wine grapes producing primarily cool-climate varieties like Bacchus Ortega, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, and Müller-Thurgau. Blue Grouse is expected to add some lovely effects to the venue soon, including a possible boutique inn and a farm-to-table style restaurant.
Cowichan Valley Wine Tour
Leave the driving to someone else and enjoy a full or half-day touring and tasting. Experience amazing views on the Malahat drive looking over the Salish Sea to the Cowichan Valley region. Each winery offers favorite wines and ciders and, no doubt is happy to share. The tour visits fun venues such as Blue Grouse Winery, Rocky Creek Winery, Zanatta Winery, Cherry Point Estate Vineyards, Glenterra Vineyards, Silverside Fruit Winery, Venturi-Schulze Vineyard and Merridale Cidery.
Truly, Vancouver Island is a wonderful choice for a getaway or weeklong vacation. When planning your trip, don’t forget to check out options for lodging and sprinkle in some wineries for extra special goodness in this Canadian treasure.