A mild climate, a long growing season and some very dedicated vintners have created Canada’s newest and fastest growing wine region: The Wine Islands. The heart of the region is the Cowichan Valley, one of the warmest spots in the country, where about a dozen wineries share the forested seaside landscape with small organic farms and artisanal food producers, earning the valley the nickname the "New Provence".
Hop aboard a BC Ferries vessel to explore the growing number of wineries on the idyllic Gulf... Read more Islands, a cluster of bucolic isles home to artisans’ studios, quiet beaches and forests laced with hiking trails. On Salt Spring Island try the award-winning Pinot Gris from Garry Oaks Winery, the sparkling Karma at Salt Spring Vineyards or the Rosé at Mistaken Identity Vineyards. Take a short ferry ride to Saturna Island to sample the apple, pear and, tropical fruit flavours of the Chardonnay, along with long ocean views, at Saturna Island Family Estate Winery.
In Vancouver Island’s Cowichan Valley, wineries nestle along twisting country roads among... Read more forests, farms and quaint little villages. Visit Averill Creek Vineyard near Duncan, to savour the stunning view from the slopes of Mount Prevost. Bring an appetite to the Bistro at Merridale Ciderworks in Cobble Hill, where you can sample seven varieties of cider and linger over a decadent lunch. Also in charming Cobble Hill, try the blackberry port-style wine at Cherry Point Estate Wines. Don’t miss Venturi-Schulze Vineyards, which is as well-known for its authentic balsamic vinegar as its blended wines like the aromatic white Millefiori.
Blue Grouse produces a dozen cool climate varieties incl...
As a member of the British Columbia Wi...
Learn about the production of cider and spirits through a tour. Stroll the orchard while t...
More wineries soak up the sun on Vancouver Island’s Saanich Peninsula, near the... Read more ever-blooming Butchart Gardens. Pay a visit to Church & State Wines, which has been winning awards for bold, complex blends like Quintessential. For a taste of something different, try Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse’s traditional ciders made from its own heritage apples or sip some of Victoria Spirits’ wood-fired, copper-pot-stilled gin, vodka, eau de vies or bitters. To stay in the area, you can find luxurious accommodation nearby at Brentwood Bay Resort & Spa.
Can’t make it to the wineries? Get a taste of Island wines in Victoria, BC’s capital... Read more and the largest city on Vancouver Island. Try a glass of local favourites at restaurants such as Spinnakers Brewpub, Stage or Cafe Brio. Or stop by a Vintners Quality Alliance (VQA) shop like The Wine Barrel for a bottle or two to take home. VQA shops carry a wide selection of exclusively BC wines, and the staff members know their stuff. They’ve done the legwork, visited the wineries and got to know each vintage. Watch for tastings and special events too.
Spend a weekend kayaking among BC’s Northern Gulf Islands, with stops for lavish gourmet... Read more meals, BC wines and camping on deserted beaches. Watch for river otters, bald eagles and harbour seals as you paddle gently around rocky shoreline and quiet bays.
Join our local guides in a small group setting for a unique tour of Salt Spring's best attractions. We ...
Wineries, organic farms, cider and cheese makers, chef-owned restaurants, culinary schools, and... Read more farm-to-fork dining: no wonder BC’s Wine Islands have become a serious culinary destination. Stop by Cowichan Bay for some handmade blue at Hilary’s Cheese, and pair it with organic, handcrafted bread from True Grain Breads next door. Come evening, enjoy locally grown, fished and foraged fare at the Stone Soup Inn near Lake Cowichan, or check out the Farm Table at Providence Farm. It’s a restaurant run by culinary students set on an organic farm, and may be the only one of its kind in Canada.
Scenery by land, air and sea: getting to Vancouver Island really is half the fun! BC... Read more Ferries has three routes that offer regular service between the mainland and Vancouver Island. These comfortable ferries also serve the Gulf Islands. Travelling car-free? Pacific Coach Lines offers downtown to downtown service. From Washington State, Black Ball Ferries, Washington State Ferries, and the Victoria Clipper all sail to Victoria. Prefer to fly? Daily flights connect Vancouver, Seattle and Victoria, while frequent floatplane service links all three cities. You can even go by helicopter, with Helijet’s Vancouver to Victoria service.
The airport is situated approximately 25KM (15.5...
While the Strait of Georgia reaches out below you, majestic mountains and towering skyscrapers beckon on the horizon, Helijet's spacious helicopters fly you to your destination in som...
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