Vancouver Island Wineries and Victoria winery tours
Visit Vancouver Island wineries and take Victoria winery tours when visiting us. The Saanich Peninsula and Cowichan Valley vineyards are easy to reach.
You can have a wonderfully relaxing day touring Vancouver Island wineries (over 25 of them) and enjoy wine tasting in the second largest wine region in British Columbia.
The BC wine regions have the mildest climate in Canada enabling over 60 different varieties of grape to be grown including Pinot Noir, Merlot, Pinot Blanc, Ortega, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris. Annual production is 8 - 10 million litres in British Columbia.
On Vancouver Island wineries sales of over 40 varieties of grapes exceed $2.5 million annually produced from over 1,000 acres by a workforce of about 150. Southern Vancouver Island has about 30 inches (75cm) rain a year, ideal for cider orchards too. All the vineyards listed below are easy to visit from our central location, whether on the Saanich Peninsula (where our bed and breakfast is located) or a short drive up to further Vancouver Island wineries in the Cowichan Valley area. Do check their opening hours for winery tours / wine tasting especially outside the summer months.
Vancouver Island wineries
Saanich Peninsula vineyards
The Saanich Peninsula extends from the northern suburbs of Victoria and includes the Butchart Gardens, Victoria Airport and the BC Ferries terminal for Vancouver. Our bed and breakfast is here, as are several wineries, nestled amongst the gentle hills and woodlands.
11195 Chalet Road, North Saanich (250 656-2552), www.musewinery.ca, formerly Chalet Estate Winery. Hand crafted, specialty wines. 20 minutes north of Butchart Gardens. View directions and Muse Vineyard map.
Church and State Winery, 1445 Benvenuto Ave, Brentwood Bay (250 652-2671), www.churchandstatewines.com. Near the Butchart Gardens.
2487 Mt. St Michael Road (250 544-4824), www.seacider.ca. Traditional organic ciders at a nearby cider house. Enjoy their tasting plate of local foods. See Sea Cider map.
Below are five wineries on our road or within five minutes of the B&B! All are open Saturday and Sunday in the summer, generally 12 - 5pm.
Starling Lane Winery.
5271 Old West Saanich Road (250 881-7422), www.starlinglanewinery.com. Handcrafted wine from three vineyards just a short walk from us.
Dragonfly Hill Vineyard.
6130 Old West Saanich Road (250 652-3782), www.dragonflyhillvineyard.com.
6170 Old West Saanich Road (250 544-8217), www.victoriaspirits.com. Handcrafted artisan gins, vodka and distilled wines from their wood-fired still.
6181B Old West Saanich Road (250 665-6983), www.devinevineyards.ca. Visit the vineyard, winery and tasting room to savour their Saanich Peninsula wines and enjoy breathtaking views of the coast & mountains. Summer: open Thursday 1-5, Friday 4-7, Saturday & Sunday 12-5.
6409B Oldfield Road, Saanichton. www.symphonyvineyard.com. Our latest vineyard. As well as a tasting room you can enjoy their wines on the terrace overlooking the vines with their local artisan foods - a wonderful picnic. Summer: open Saturday and Sunday 11-5.
And ... when touring wineries do visit some of the many Saanich Peninsula fruit stands. For example, close by is Oldfield Orchard and Bakery where we purchase much of our fruit and vegetables.
Cowichan Valley wineries
Less than an hour's drive from Victoria is the gently rolling countryside of the South Cowichan Valley. Award-winning wineries and one cidery are found on country roads through the region's lush hills offering winery tours and wine tastings. Enjoy driving through the coastal and countryside communities of Mill Bay, Shawnigan Lake, Cobble Hill and Cowichan Bay.
Averill Creek Vineyard
6552 North Road, Duncan (250 709-9986). Handcrafted estate-grown quality wines from the Cowichan Valley. There are directions on the Averill Creek Vineyard map.
Blue Grouse Estate Winery
4365 Blue Grouse Road, Dunan (250 743-3834). One of the founding estate wineries of Vancouver Island. View the Blue Grouse Estate Winery map.
Cherry Point Vineyards.
840 Cherry Point Road, Cobble Hill. (250) 743-1272. One of the first licensed wineries on Vancouver Island. Bistro on site.
Godfrey Brownell Vineyards
4911 Marshall Road, Duncan. (250) 715-0504. Two organic vineyards.
4235 Trans Canada Hwy, Cobble Hill (250 743-5630). Venturi-Schulze fine wines and balsamic vinegar. See our Venturi-Schulze Vineyards map.
And do consider touring a cidery and a meadery:
Merridale Estate Winery, 1230 Merridale Road, Cobble Hill (1-800 998-9908). Several ciders produced from their apple orchards. Bistro on site. South Cowichan area.
Tugwell Creek Honey Farm and Meadery
8750 West Coast Road, Sooke (250 642-1956). Honey and mead produced in Sooke. Here are directions: Tugwell Creek map.
Executive Wine Tours
Luxury SUV wine tours from Victoria BC through the Cowichan valley, Canada's Napa valley.
Crush Wine Tours
(250) 888-5748. Conducted tours.
British Columbia - Wine & Food Events Calendar
A listing of events of interest to wine and food enthusiasts, across BC. Plus, an excellent wine and food pairing guide...and more!
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Wine tasting tips
Firstly, look at your sample holding the glass against a white background: darker-coloured wines are generally more full-bodied.
Swirl your glass on a flat surface. This will vaporise the alcohol releasing the aromas. Why? The tongue can detect four flavours but the nose can detect thousands! So enjoy this next step - smell deeply and try to identify what you smell.
Now for the actual wine tasting. Swirl a small amount around your mouth and hold it there briefly. You will sense sweetness at the tip of your tongue, bitterness on the back and acidity on the side. Ask yourself questions. Is the wine full and rich or light? Is it crisp, sweet or acidic? Are there bubbles? Does the edge of your tongue tingle? Does the taste change as it "finishes"? Can you still taste it 10 or 20 seconds afterwards?
When you have tasted enough spit into the spittoon or bucket. This is not only acceptable but practical since you'll be able to taste more wines. You need not finish the sample, pour the remainder into the bucket and proceed to your next sample. If possible, eat some plain bread or crackers to clear your palate between tastings.
Bear in mind that most Vancouver Island wineries are small operations so their wines may not be available elsewhere. If you like a BC wine, buy it there. Keep it cool, so do not place in the trunk of your car in the summer. Alternatively, you may find them at BC Liquor Stores or at stores selling estate wines including those designated VQA (Vintners Quality Alliance).
The winery may be a good setting for lunch to enjoy the local wine in the vineyard setting. Some have a restaurant or bistro, others a picnic area so relax and enjoy the view.
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Wine making has come a long way since the times of medieval tapestries - see vintage wine scenes from our tapestry website which you can order. One is shown below.
View Victoria attractions including gardens, local recreation including whale-watching and dining venues including afternoon tea.
Victoria's Country Retreat ... serenity near the Butchart Gardens
Enjoy tours at Vancouver Island wineries whilst staying at our Canada Select 5 Star rated bed and breakfast.