British Columbia is fast becoming the California of the north in its production of exceptional wines. There are three regions in the province where oenophiles can find their appetites sated, and the rest of us can sip some excellent vintages at decent prices. Getting from winery to winery couldn’t be easier, just follow the burgundy and white “Wine Route” signs.
Most wineries invite visitors for wine tastings and tours. Some even serve delicious food to complement their wine. As you tour, you may view the entire process, from crushing to bottling, each winery uniquely different. Where better to sample and select your favourite wine than the winery itself. Be sure to take a bottle of the region’s finest when you leave.
Throughout the world, wine producing countries have set standards by which to judge their products and recognize the best. The VQA put British Columbian wines to the test of meeting premium-quality standards. This seal is awarded to British Columbia’s superior wines, and is an assurance to the consumer of a certain standard in wine excellence.
We invite you to discover B.C.’s fastest growing Wine Country. Enjoy our wineries and cideries, taste the latest vintage, picnic in a vineyard or orchard – all with a backdrop of verdant hills and scenic landscapes.
The Saanich Peninsula lies just a few minutes north of Victoria. Considered Vancouver Island’s latest viticultural hot spot, the Saanich Peninsula boasts the Island’s only certified-organic vineyard. Your next wine tour starts in the Cowichan Valley which is reached via the Trans Canada Highway or if the prospect of negotiating the steep Malahat Drive is daunting, B.C. Ferries operates a regularly scheduled service from Brentwood Bay to Mill Bay.
The wine tour starts in the Cowichan Valley which is reached via the Trans Canada Highway or if the prospect of negotiating the steep Malahat Drive is daunting, B.C. Ferries operates a regularly scheduled service from Brentwood Bay to Mill Bay.
Your Cowichan Valley wine tour is your opportunity to sample something truly special! The Vancouver Island wine route begins at Mill Bay, at the Merridale Ciderworks, and then heads north to Cowichan Bay / Cobble Hill and the Cherry Point Vineyards. Cherry Point offers guided tours three times a day that provide an in-depth look at grape growing and wine making at a “farm” winery. Next stop is Venturi-Schulze Vineyards and the nearby Blue Grouse Vineyards. Follow the Wine Route markers, it is a fifteen-minute drive north to the southern end of the city of Duncan and Echo Valley Vineyards, Godfrey Brownell Vineyards and Zanatta Winery. Just north of the city is Alderlea Vineyards.
A half-hour drive north to Nanaimo is the Chateau Wolff Vineyard, and farther north in Port Alberni is the Chase Warren Estate Winery, the first winery in Port Alberni and the northernmost tip of the Island’s wine growing region. While the vineyards, wineries, breweries, and distilleries in the Central and North Central Island regions are less concentrated than in other areas of the islands, the passion is just as strong and you’ll find many of the shops and restaurants proudly offering fine locally crafted vintages, brews, and distilled spirits.
No two vineyards are alike; each has its own special favourites, as popular as Chardonnay or as rare as Agria. The region also boasts near-perfect conditions for growing premium quality cider apples. The Cowichan Valley mirrors the climate and soil conditions of the famous cider-growing regions of England and France.
The BC Gulf Islands
Located in the lee of Vancouver Island, between the island and the mainland of British Columbia, are the Gulf Islands, and their near Mediterranean climate. The Gulf Islands are currently home to 12 vineyards, many Gulf Island wineries supplement their production with grapes grown in the Okanagan Valley. Each of the Gulf Islands seems to be a world unto itself; travelling between the Southern Gulf Islands and Northern Gulf Islands can be accomplished in small hops – each island deserves at least a day or two for exploring.
On Saturna Island are the Saturna Island Vineyards, the only island vineyard and winery in Canada with a resort and restaurant facilities. On Saltspring Island, be sure to visit Salt Spring Vinyeards and Garry Oaks Winery, located between Ganges and Fulford Harbour. To the northwest of Saturna Island is Thetis Island, location of Thetis Island Vineyards. Visit Morning Bay Vineyards on North Pender Island, Gabriola Island Winery and Hornby Island on the east coast of Vancouver Island is home to three wineries. Gulf Islands ferries have a few sailings each day, so plan ahead. Diehard wine trekkers will want to hit all the wineries scattered about the islands; your best bet is to bring a bike and a tent for some serious Island Hopping.