5 Island Wineries to Visit this Summer


It’s not hard to see why Vancouver Island is home to some incredible wineries.

The vast, deep valleys, rich green forested mountains and breathtaking ocean views provide the perfect setting for a place to raise a glass and share a nibble.

Add to this the fact that the Island boasts some of the most passionate and talented grape growers and winemakers you’ll ever meet, and you have a combination that can only result in greatness.

Unsworth Vineyards

Committed to making wines that reflect the exceptional soil and growing conditions of the Cowichan Valley, winemaker Dan Wright and his team currently farm 10 acres of grape varieties at Unsworth Vineyards.

They focus on handcrafted wines of distinction using signature techniques that showcase the very best of the fruit and it shows in the flavour.

While you are there, don’t miss Unsworth Restaurant—a culinary celebration of all-things Vancouver Island. From a seasonally inspired menu showcasing fresh, local, sustainable ingredients, to exceptional service and award-winning wines, they give bold, new meaning to farm-to-table cuisine. Learn more at unsworthvineyards.com.

Blue Grouse Estate Winery & Vineyard

Blue Grouse is one of BC’s oldest wineries. Nestled on 65 acres of Cowichan Valley countryside, this winery and vineyard produces some of the most awarded wines on the Island.

From Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Ortega, Bacchus and the rare Black Muscat, Blue Grouse produces new classic wines from old island vines.

Reservations are required but you can’t go wrong with any of the experience options. Our personal favourite is the Grape to Glass Tour, but we have also enjoyed the Lunch for Two and Cowichan Wine and Chocolate Pairing. Learn more at bluegrouse.ca.

Church & State Wines

Church & State Wines strives to produce wines that over-deliver, and the results speak for themselves: the winery has been named producer of Canada’s Best Red Wine seven times since 2009, and received countless gold medals, best-in-class awards and national trophies for both red and white wines.

Church & State offers a unique experience to guests, just 15 minutes from Downtown Victoria and produces 100 percent BC VQA wines. Brentwood Bay produces traditional artisan sparkling wines from its estate vineyards and is a must-see for anyone in the region. Pouring award-winning wines from both the Vancouver Island estate and Okanagan estate vineyards, Church & State offers an educational experience that shouldn’t be missed. Pop into their bistro for some olives, charcuterie, sandwiches or pizza. Learn more at churchandstatewines.com.

Alderlea Vineyards

Alderlea Vineyards is one of Vancouver Island’s oldest and most respected vineyards, in the Cowichan Valley, near Duncan on Vancouver Island. The estate-grown grapes produce a mix of dry white wines including Bacchus, Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc. Red wines comprise Pinot Noir, Clarinet made from old vine Marechal Foch, Merlot and a Cabernet Foch blend known as Matrix.

Zac and Julie took over the award-winning winery Alderlea Vineyards in April 2017 from Roger and Nancy Dosman whose strong vision for an island vineyard and skilled winemaking made Alderlea one of the pioneers in Vancouver Island winegrowing.

When you visit, you not only get to taste the wine but you can meet the owners and winemakers—the people who are the heart and soul of the wines. Learn more at alderlea.ca.

Averill Creek Vineyard

Averill Creek offers something a bit different. Beginning in 2018, with the arrival of Winemaker Brent Rowland, their wines became wild fermented, with no enzymes or nutrients added, and little to no sulphur. Most are unfined and unfiltered.

They also offer a self-guided tasting that is a leisurely approach on the Garden Terrace, where you can enjoy the wines at your own pace.

The Guided Experience is a sit-down tasting held in a private room, or on the outdoor Ocean-view Terrace. The team will provide an in-depth perspective on the winery, including their history, winemaking approach, vineyard management and the regional terroir.

For the wine-nerds and wine-curious, The Full Package offers a private tour in the winery production area, followed by a brief walk in the vines, and a fully guided flight of Estate and Reserve level wines, along with a tasty variety of premium provisions. Learn more at averillcreek.ca.

Stacie Gaetz
Stacie Gaetzhttp://grandmag.ca
Stacie is the managing editor of GRAND. She runs on exploring new and exciting places and getting to the heart of people's stories. If you have a story she should know about, reach her at [email protected]